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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‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.