Ex-Schlecker staff to be offered care training

The 25,000 ex-employees of insolvent German drug store chain Schlecker could be offered training to fill gaps in Germany's workforce – such as in kindergartens or care homes - the labour minister said on Thursday.

Ex-Schlecker staff to be offered care training
Photo: DPA

Meanwhile queues formed outside some stores on Friday morning as the nationwide closing-down sale kicked off, with up to 50 percent off everything in all the shops.

Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen earlier this week said that people who receive state welfare benefits could be offered training to work in child day care facilities.

She now hopes to start a similar scheme specifically for the 11,000 people who have already lost their jobs at Schlecker, and the 13,000 who are about to follow them into unemployment.

Bankruptcy administrators tried to save the rump of the Schlecker drug store chain by closing more than 4,000 stores and slashing the workforce from 30,000 to 13,500 in January.

But this was not enough and now company is set to be broken up completely. Most of it’s staff, 70 percent of whom are women, had professional training and worked full-time.

Of those who were let go in January, 2,300 have already stopped going to the job centre for whatever reason. Around 600 were offered a position in what remained of the company.

As kindergarten and care-home positions are currently difficult to fill in Germany, von der Leyen praised the ex-Schlecker staff for their courage throughout the company breakdown and told them that if they wanted to go for one of the new jobs, the option to do so would be there.

Participants in retraining scheme would receive unemployment benefits until they were ready to take on a job.

Head of service trade union Verdi Frank Bsirske welcomed the plan, calling it a chance for former Schlecker employees to find work in a saturated market. “There are just 25,000 vacancies in retail, and 360,000 people fighting for them,” he said.

Family Minister Kristina Schröder also expressed approval of the idea, saying, “I can imagine that of these worldly-wise women, there are many who would approach such an opportunity with excitement and engagement.”

“We have to be willing to look far and wide for qualified nursery teachers and care assistants,” she added, but warned that care would have to be taken to monitor the quality of the training on offer.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

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Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

Germany will reinstate its so-called debt brake in 2023 after suspending it for three years to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources in the finance ministry said Wednesday.

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The government will borrow 17.2 billion euros ($18.1 million) next year, adhering to the rule enshrined in the constitution that normally limits

Germany’s public deficit to 0.35 percent of overall annual economic output, despite new spending as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the sources said.

The new borrowing set out in a draft budget to be presented to the cabinet on Friday is almost 10 billion euros higher than a previous figure for 2023 announced in April.

However, “despite a considerable increase in costs, the debt brake will be respected,” one of the sources said.

Although Germany is traditionally a frugal nation, the government broke its own debt rules at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and unleashed vast financial aid to steer the economy through the crisis.

READ ALSO: Debt-averse Germany to take on new borrowings to soften pandemic blow

The government has this year unveiled a multi-billion-euro support package to help companies in Europe’s biggest economy weather the fallout from the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russia.

Berlin has also spent billions to diversify its energy supply to reduce its dependence on Russia, as well as investing heavily in plans to tackle climate change and push digital technology.

But despite the additional spending, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has maintained the aim to reinstate the debt brake in 2023.