Nearly 12,000 employees of a struggling German drugstore chain faced an uncertain future on Thursday after a rescue package was blocked by the Free Democrats.
The junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government opposed a 70-million-euro loan guarantee. The package would have backed a retraining and job placement scheme for Schlecker employees.
Katja Deuser, who sat on the works council for Schlecker employees in the southern town of Ulm, accused the economically liberal FDP of “letting the negotiations fail”.
“I hope that Mr Rösler sleeps well tonight,” she added, referring to the German economy minister who led his party’s opposition to any deal.
Unions argue their members’ prospects of finding new jobs are low, but Rösler says the state should not intervene to save failing businesses.
“It is politically sound to say it is not the task of government to organise the rescue of such companies,” he told reporters in Berlin.
The job losses have yet to be finalised in writing, but Schlecker has already shuttered 2,000 of its 5,400 stores in Germany.