Workers fear for jobs as shipbuilder goes belly up

German shipbuilder P+S applied for bankruptcy on Wednesday, after negotiations with its clients and suppliers failed. The move leaves around 2,000 fearing for their jobs.

Workers fear for jobs as shipbuilder goes belly up
Photo: DPA

Hundreds of workers still turned up for the early shift in Stralsund on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t look good “, 61-year-old shipyard worker Gerd Riede told Die Welt, who has worked there for 46 years.

The shipyard employs nearly 2,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in the north eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

P+S has been in difficulty since 2009 and hasn’t delivered a ship since April.

The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the federal government have repeatedly supported the shipyard financially.

In the more than two decades since German reunification, the state and federal government have poured billions into P+S’s two locations Stralsund and Wolgast, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Wednesday.

They offered P+S another €152 million over the summer, but it soon became clear even this would not be enough to save the firm.

The European Commission would not allow more state money than this to be offered.

Last week emergency aid was halted, and P+S was left trying to work out a deal with its suppliers and clients.

On Monday the Financial Times Deutschland reported it was becoming increasingly clear that a deal could not be reached with P+S’s main client Scandlines, which is still waiting for two ferries that should have been delivered months ago.

The paper noted that more than half a dozen German shipyards have gone bust since the financial crisis amid a reduction in orders and increased competition from China, Japan and Korea.

The Local/DAPD/sh

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Majority of Germans now trust in the Euro

A survey published on Tuesday shows that German public trust in the single currency has risen sharply over the last two years to hit 57 percent.

Majority of Germans now trust in the Euro
Photo: DPA

The survey, carried out by the market research firm GFK Verein, shows the level of confidence in the Euro has risen 19 percentage points since they last surveyed attitudes in 2013.

“The background reason for this result is low inflation,” Ronald Frank, Head of Studies at GFK Verein told The Local.

“The consumer reacts to the things he buys on a weekly basis. Because the oil price is low and this has a knock-on effect on the price of petrol at the pump – and the price for good such as butter, bread and even beer has not risen, people feel the low rate of inflation.”

The survey measures attitudes to public institutions in 26 different countries on a biannual basis. In Germany, the sharp rise in trust in the Euro made it the fifth most respected public institution.

It is still some way off public trust in the police which was recorded at 80 percent.

Frank told The Local that the other main influence on the Euro's rise in popularity was that the public believes it has weathered the storms that have battered it in recent years.

“In 2012 the media had a tendency to talk down the Euro, but a few years later nothing has happened.”

It has now been established in the public mind that the worst fantasies of the media will not come true and the Eurozone will indeed stay together.

The survey also identifies a rise in support for the government from 34 percent in 2013 to 40 percent today.

Frank pointed out that this could have reinforced support for the Euro since the measures taken to support on the European level to strengthen the single currency  – the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – came “significantly from Germany.”

But he warned that public attitudes on these issues can change quickly, saying that rising inflation or a large amount of tax money transferred to Greece as part of a deal on its debt could quickly see support for the Euro begin to fall away.