'Germans work hard, let's give them a break'

The Local Germany
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'Germans work hard, let's give them a break'
Uwe Hück in the ring for a charity boxing match. Photo: DPA

Thai boxer by night, head of Porsche's supervisory board by day, Uwe Hück made the news this week by calling for shorter working hours. He is The Local's German of the Week.


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Some Porsche employees have got quite used to working just 34 hours a week for the same wage as a standard 40-hour week.

Their boss Uwe Hück, referred to in certain circles as the German Chuck Norris, thinks a more relaxed working schedule could be introduced for most of the country's workforce - if not for the whole of Europe.

“Productivity in Germany is extremely high,” he told the taz newspaper on Wednesday. “This is good but we do need to give people a break. We need working hours more suited to the intensity of output.”

Hück, a hard-working Christian who never takes time off and claims to pray twice a day, joined Porsche in 1985 as a car painter and inched his way up the ranks to become one of the company's most important employees.

Growing up in a children's home after losing his parents, he is hazy about his exact birthday but gives it as May 22nd 1962. Despite his rocky start, he flourished at his school in Stuttgart. He was even moved up two years early before graduating and going to learn how to paint cars.

Around this time he took up Thai boxing, discovered he had talent and went on to win the European championships twice. The sport remains a big part of his life today.

If the married father-of-three does need a break, he takes a day off to spend in his training room. “I couldn't relax on holiday,” he told the taz.

Several years after starting work at Porsche he became involved in its union and in 2003 he became head of the committee for factory staff.

A member of the centre-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), he is a vocal advocate of workers' rights. “When I have the feeling that something is unfair, I can go from a rose to force of nature in a few seconds,” he said.

Hück is a big supporter of disadvantaged children, having experienced childhood hardship. “A child cannot do anything about their parents dying, being ill or poor,” he said.

The 51-year-old, who has two adopted children, has made no secret of his desire to get into politics, with his dream post being education minister.

His first move, he told the taz, would be to make it a legal requirement for companies to fund training for staff.

SEE ALSO: The Germans who want to move to Mars



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