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Germans stick with homegrown classic brands during tough times

Faced with trying economic times, Germans chose homegrown classics when picking the brands they trusted the most in a new survey.

Germans stick with homegrown classic brands during tough times
Photo: DPA

Established German brands such as Bayer’s Aspirin, Volkswagen cars, Asbach-Uralt’s brandy, skincare products from Nivea and appliances by Miele topped the Teutonic picks in the “European Trusted Brands 2010” survey conducted by magazine Reader’s Digest.

Some 32,000 people, among them 9,000 Germans, responded to the annual poll that highlighted 33 different categories from automobiles to toothpaste.

The magazine attributed the resurgent dominance of old German brands to a need for security and trust in the wake of the global economic crisis.

It also said that public discourse played a big role, highlighting the example of Deutsche Telekom’s internet service provider T-Online, which overtook US internet giant Google’s spot on the 2009 list following political questions about the company’s collection of personal information.

Environmental sensibilities were also a dominant theme, and German companies with the best reputations for ecological engagement included Sparkasse banks, Aral petrol stations, Miele appliances, Frosch cleaning products, and Persil detergent.

The German skincare brand Nivea was particularly impressive, ranking as the most trusted brand of its category in all of the 16 countries included in Europe-wide survey.

“When a brand gains the attention and trust of consumers despite intense competition, it’s a great achievement,” head of Reader’s Digest for Germany, Switzerland and Austria said in a statement. “Only the consumers who have had their trust confirmed remain true to a brand.”

Germany’s favourites

• Automobile: Volkswagen (German)

• Bank: Sparkasse (German)

• Clothing: C&A (German)

• Petrol: Aral (German)

• Computer: Fujitsu Siemens (Japan)

• Make-up: Yves Rocher (France)

• Fragrances: Yves Rocher (France)

• Beverage: Coca-Cola (US)

• Cold medicine: Wick (German)

• Camera: Canon (Japan)

• Breakfast cereal: Kellogg’s

• Hair care: Schwarzkopf (German)

• Groceries: Aldi (German)

• Appliances: Miele (German)

• Cleaning products: Frosch (German)

• Skincare: Nivea (German)

• Internet service provider: T-Online (German)

• Coffee and tea: Tchibo (German)

• Credit card: Visa (US)

• Milk products: Müllermilch (German)

• Mobile phone service provider: Vodafone (UK)

• Mobile phones: Nokia (Finnish)

• Food brand: Maggi (German)

• Travel company: TUI (German)

• Pain killer: Aspirin (German)

• Shoes: Rieker (German)

• Sekt: Rotkäppchen Sekt (German)

• Spirits: Asbach (German)

• Candy: Haribo (German)

• Insurance: Allianz (German)

• Vitamins: Abtei (German)

• Laundry soap: Persil (German)

• Toothpaste and mouth care: Odol (German)

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CHRISTMAS

Amazon workers across Germany go on strike for higher wages in build up to ‘online Xmas’

Employees of the online retailer Amazon have downed their tools at several locations across Germany in a protest against precarious wages, but the online shopping giant insists that the strike won’t impact Christmas deliveries.

Amazon workers across Germany go on strike for higher wages in build up to 'online Xmas'
Photo: DPA

In Bad Hersfeld, in the central state of Hesse, employees at an Amazon logistics centre started their strike early on Monday morning. A spokeswoman for the Verdi trade union said they expected about 500 workers at the retail company to take part. 

In Rheinberg and Werne in North Rhine-Westphalia, the strike began shortly before midnight on Sunday evening, with some 500 workers taking part and further 300 workers in the town of Werne joining in.

The union action has hit six locations across the country in total and strike action is set to last until Christmas Eve.

The trade union Verdi had called for strikes at various locations as it sought to push Amazon into recognition of the collective agreements which are commonly established established between trade unions and employer associations in Germany.

“Last week's closure of on-site retail has once again significantly increased the volume of orders placed with mail-order companies such as Amazon,” Verdi said in a statement.

“While the corporation continues to increase its billions in profits, it refuses to pay employees according to collective bargaining agreements. These are minimum conditions,” the union added.

A Verdi spokesman added that Amazon was earning “a golden profit” while workers' health suffered under the stress of delivering packages on time during the pandemic.

Additionally, the trade union said it wanted to push for better health and safety at the workplace in Amazon logistics centres. 

Amazon has always resisted joining in such agreements, claiming that it offers good wages outside of the traditional trade union structures.

Amazon said Monday that its employees already benefit from “excellent wages, excellent fringe benefits and excellent career opportunities.” 

The US-based firm also said that it made health and well-being at work a top priority. 

The company insisted that the strikes would have no impact on customer deliveries in the run up to Christmas, stating that the vast majority of employees work as normal.

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