Berlin is known as “the capital of precarious employment and the working poor” by some trade union representatives, including Dierk Hirschel, chief economist at ver.di, one of Germany’s biggest trade unions.
“The problem we face in Germany is that one in five workers are paid less than ten euros an hour”, Hirschel says. “They are the working poor. This is a result of the degradation of labour market rules. Germany is a rich country, there is no doubt about it. But Germany is also a socially divided country: in this rich country, the working poor are a reality – they are people who work 40-50 hours a week but who cannot make a living.”
Interview (English language) with Berlin-based Dierk Hirschel, chief economist at Germany’s United Services Union “ver.di” (Federal Executive, Economic Policy)