2007 July 21 Saturday
Skilled Workers Splitting With Unskilled In Germany

German unions used to band together with other unions and negotiate with management. But Der Spiegel reports that the unions which have the most skilled members are splitting off from the unions that have less skilled members.

First it was pilots, then doctors, now Germany's train drivers are breaking ranks to negotiate their own pay deals. As German skilled workers demand wage increases in line with their counterparts abroad, could this signal the end of collective bargaining?

German pilots and doctors compare themselves to pilots and doctors in other Western countries and want to make as much money as their foreign peers.

And in 2006 hospital doctors in Germany went on strike to protest the fact that their earnings were far below those doctors in other countries. In fact the relatively poor pay and difficult conditions had led to a exodus of doctors (more...) leaving Germany for the UK, Scandinavia and elsewhere.

This trend suggests that industrialized countries with relatively lower levels of income inequality will become more like the countries which have greater income inequality. The differences in wages between the most and least skilled will increase. While language serves as a barrier that slows down labor mobility in Europe many of the most educated are bilingual or trilingual. For highly skilled occupations where workers can easily move wages will rise much more rapidly than wages for the least skilled.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 July 21 12:54 AM  Economics Inequality

Mensarefugee said at July 21, 2007 1:56 AM:

So dumbed down education serves a purpose!
Preventing the cognitive elite from learning a foreign language while their brains are young, pliable and receptive to it (till about 6 years old).

I wish I was joking.

Dragon Horse said at July 23, 2007 6:22 PM:

Actually Mensa there is something to that.

Alan Greenespan said, quite recently, that we should import more low wage immigrants to prevent "wage inflation" in an attempt to stop the income inequality. :-O I was shocked when i read that, but I don't know why.


Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, in the UK, agrees with him:


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