• Germany's news in English

Town pays refugees to haul luggage

The Local · 24 Jul 2013, 08:32

Published: 24 Jul 2013 08:32 GMT+02:00

Since Monday, a group of asylum seekers is being paid just over a euro an hour to haul train passengers' luggage up and down flights of stairs in the southern town of Schwäbisch Gmünd, wrote Der Spiegel late on Tuesday.

The ten refugees, originally from African countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, currently residents of the 250-strong refugee shelter in the town, had volunteered for the job, wrote the magazine.

Clad in red T-shirts declaring “Service” and straw hats to shield them from the sun, the refugees work in teams of two, completing two luggage-hauling shifts a day between 6.15 am and 6 pm.

The town - which is getting a face-lift as it prepares to host Baden-Wüttermberg's State Garden Festival next year - employed the refugees after receiving complaints from passengers unwilling or unable to carry their own luggage over a temporary steel bridge between platforms during renovation work.

The meagre wage – paid on top of free transport to and from work - is the maximum asylum seekers can earn in Germany by law.

“It's not a sum that serves as an incentive,” town spokesman Markus Hermann told the magazine, adding that everyone wished the refugees could get more cash for their work.

One way is to appeal to passengers – who have welcomed the new porters - to give them generous tips to supplement their earnings, said Hermann.

Schwäbisch Gmünd Mayor Richard Arnold is keen to get the refugees involved in the community – and sees the station work as just one way to encourage contact between locals and the asylum seekers, wrote the magazine.

Story continues below…

“These people are living with us and we have to take care of them,” Mayor Arnold told Der Spiegel.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd