- Title: GERMANY: THOUSANDS PROTEST AGAINST SOCIAL WELFARE CUTS
- Date: 1st May 1996
- Summary: BERLIN AND DORTMUND, GERMANY (MAY 1, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) BERLIN, GERMANY 1. WIDE OF DGB UNION PROTEST 0.05 2. SV PEOPLE HOLDING UNION BANNERS (3 SHOTS) 0.20 3. SV HEAD OF DGB UNION, DIETER SCHULTE, WALKING WITH CARPENTERS IN TRADITIONAL COSTUME 0.24 4. SV PROTESTERS CARRYING BANNERS 0.27 5. SCU SCHULTE SAYING WE ARE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT'S PLANNED WELFARE CUTS BECAUSE THEY PLAN TO CHANGE THE LAW CONCERNING CONTINUATION OF PAYING WAGES (IN CASE OF SICKNESS), WE ARE AGAINST THEIR PLANS TO CHANGE WORKER'S PROTECTION AGAINST WRONGFUL DISMISSAL, AND THE OTHER UNFAIR ASPECTS OF THE WELFARE CUTS (GERMAN) 0.42 6. LV PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNER SAYING "STAND UP FOR EDUCATION AND WORK" (GERMAN) 0.46 7. SV DEMONSTRATORS ARRIVING AT BERLIN'S CITY HALL (3 SHOTS) 1.02 DORTMUND 8. WIDE OF RALLY, DEMONSTRATORS HOLDING BANNERS 1.08 9. SV RALLY AND WORKERS CARRYING PLACARDS (2 SHOTS) 1.24 10.SV KLAUS ZWICKEL, HEAD OF IG METALL UNION ARRIVING AT RALLY, (CHECKED CAP) 1.36 11.SV PEOPLE HOLDING FLAGS, SINGING INTERNATIONALE 1.42 12.SV ZWICKEL ADDRESSING RALLY, SAYING: "THE WELFARE CUTS PROPOSED BY HELMUT KOHL'S GOVERNMENT ARE NOT SOCIALLY BALANCED. (GERMAN) 1.54 13.GV CROWD CHEERING 1.59 BERLIN, GERMANY 14.SV FAR-RIGHT SUPPORTERS AT MARCH (2 SHOTS) 2.10 KREUZBERG DISTRICT OF BERLIN 15.LV POLICE IN RIOT GEAR STANDING IN FRONT OF POLICE VEHICLES 2.17 16.LV LEFT-WING AND ANARCHIST MARCHERS WALKING PAST BRIDGE, AUDIO OF FIRECRACKER EXPLODING 2.28 17.SV POLICE IN RIOT GEAR WALKING TOWARDS MARCHERS/ LLV DEMONSTRATOR THROWING STONE AT POLICE, POLICE RUNNING AFTER DEMONSTRATOR (2 SHOTS) 2.47 18.LV/SV DEMONSTRATORS AND POLICE CLASHING (5 SHOTS) 3.33 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVA84Y1C9BCSW25W8U8XV6SP9386
- Location: BERLIN AND DORTMUND, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Duration: 00:03:35
- Story Text: INTRO: Thousands of people rally throughout Germany over government plans to cut social welfare spending. But the turnout was not as big as unions had hoped.
Tens of thousands of German trade union supporters used traditional Labour Day rallies on Wednesday (May 1) to protest against a government savings plan which they see as an attack on Germany's legendary post-war consensus.
But the turnout at major rallies failed to produce the impression of the massive campaign which unions and the Social Democrat (SPD) opposition hope to marshal against German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's budget and welfare cuts.
Dieter Schulte, chairman of the DGB trade union federation, addressed the main rally of more than 10,000 supporters in Berlin.
He described the savings package as a programme of social heartlessness.
Klaus Zwickel, head of the powerful IG Metall engineering union, told workers in the western industrial city of Dortmund the welfare cuts proposed by Kohl's government last week can be seen as social dismantling.
"The workers, the unemployed, the sick and the pensioners would have to carry the burden. This catalogue of horrors will not create a single job," he said.
Police put Zwickel's audience at a modest 3,000, while the union said some 6,000 were in attendance.
The DGB organised almost 150 rallies nationwide.
Unions had hoped for a huge turnout to add weight to their belief that Kohl's cuts endanger the labour consensus which helped forge Germany post-war "economic miracle".
Under the burden of post-war record unemployment of around four million, the German budget deficit currently threatens to break the bounds of the qualification criteria for a European single currency.
Meanwhile, increasingly gloomy economic forecasts indicate there is little or no chance that growth will pick up this year to help fill state coffers or make even the slightest dent in unemployment.
But government and employers insist the only way to address the problem is to cut Germany's labour costs -- the highest in the world and the price which the country has paid for its comprehensive and much-vaunted welfare network.
Kohl has opted to slaughter sacred cows by cutting pensions and sick pay and making it easier for employers to sack workers.
Unions say that by trying to dismantle their achievements of decades, Kohl is endangering the social stability which is Germany's biggest asset.
In Berlin, about 400 skinheads marched in the east of the city to mark May Day, waving banners reading "German jobs should be kept for German workers" and "Stop the influx of foreigners into Germany." The protest was organised by the extreme right-wing organisation called the Young National Democrats.
Marching through the low-income housing estate district of Marzahn, on the outskirts of the city, the skinheads chanted slogans such as "Our fight is a national fight" and "German jobs for German workers." In a separate march in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, organised by left-wing and anarchist groups, police and protesters clashed.
The march, known as the "Revolutionary May Day March" has often resulted in violent clashes in the past.
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