Einheitliches Handy-Ladekabel

“Common recharger.”

After compromising five years ago by having manufacturers voluntarily provide an extra U.S.B. phone recharger port in addition to their mutually incompatible plugs, the E.U. parliament has now reached a “provisional deal” for a mandatory common device that can recharge all mobile phones (and all tablet devices) sold in Europe, effective in three years. This requirement will be added to the radio equipment rules package that hasn’t been entirely negotiated yet. Before the three-year countdown can be started (estimated possibly March 2014) it must still be approved by the Member States’ governments and the European parliament’s plenum, and get past some officials from the Industry Committee [Industriekommission] thought to be against mandating universal chargers though their boss, Antonio Tajani, is for it. Officials from the Industry Committee would also be responsible for deciding which device would become the universal charger, said Süddeutsche.de.

(Eye n HEIGHT lichh ess   HEN dee   lodd ah cobb ell.)


“Work contracts” or “service contracts” that pay workers per item or opus rather than per hour, month or annum. Piecework contracts paying per product or service.

In the Bundesrat, Lower Saxony (S.P.D. + Green party), North Rhine-Westphalia (S.P.D. + Green party) and the Saarland (C.D.U. + S.P.D.) announced an initiative to investigate what they said is growing misuse of this type of labor contract, particularly in the meat packing industry. Such workers, estimated at >10,000 in Germany reported tagesschau.de, are said to be being lured in from less prosperous Eastern European countries, treated badly and paid “hunger wages” by German standards. Apparently current German regulations do not provide workers with this type of contract the same protections given to temp workers [Leiharbeiter], such as a guaranteed minimum wage for each hour worked.

Investigators’ complaints about poor treatment include “piecework at hunger wages [instead of the usual higher wages to compensate for piecework’s lack of benefits], inadequate health protection and opaque Werkvertrag contracts given to low-wage foreign workers.”

The governor of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil (S.P.D.), deemed these contracts “an ulcer on the entire German labor market” and called for them to be banned, saying Werkvertrag workers also need representation in a company’s Betriebsrat, a workers’ committee involved in management. The proposed Bundesrat initiative would mandate that Betriebsrat worker committees must give their approval before Werkvertrag labor can be used in any German company.

Lower Saxony’s government said their state has already passed new rules about shared apartments the companies with questionable Werkvertrag conditions are also renting out to foreign pieceworkers. They now must provide at least 8 square meters per employee-tenant.

(VEH ACK feh TRAY geh.)

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