Roadworks and unemployment in Berlin

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Berlin: Roadworks everywhere! And NOBODY working on them, for days!!

 

Meanwhile half the city's workforce is "unemployed" - only a slight exaggeration.

 

Something doesn't add up here! Solutions anyone?

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What's your solution then? I suppose mine would be to incentivise business start-ups. Real ones. Not the self-actualising "yah, of course I've got some start-up" ones that come and go in months. An EU or UN body might also help. The place also needs to be made attractive to aspirational west Germans who simply don't share this obsession with Berlin that many people from other nations do. It's not seen as an attractive place by many, just as a poor and dirty place that swallows other people's tax.

 

If you look at Berlin's history, it adds up a bit better of course. Or possibly if you compare it to a long-term depressed UK or US city - not much changes in a lot of them either. Administrative centre of a communist state, unlike like say Jena or Dresden which at least had a legacy of marketable technology IPR. Now having to competing against massively successful western cities and mature industries in its own nation and also those of other nations. I always feel it's central European location should be a big advantage but in fact it is not, becuse it's getting squeezed by the mature west and the emerging east.

 

In addition, it's something of a magnet for unemployed people, so that population is "self-selecting". The unemployed tend not to flock to Frankfurt or wherever . Unemployed in the way of not being tied to an employer, waiting for the big break they expect, wanting to live in a cheap place, taking time out etc. We also probably feel unemployment is higher than 13% because it's far higher in the immigrant population. 33% was the last I saw for that, about a year ago, so I expect it's a bit lower now. And more do not go through official process and so are not in the figures of course. If you are a German government civil servant, unemployment probably seems low.

 

Roadworks? All big cities seem to have them. But - yeh - in Berlin in particular seems to have a difficult transport infrastructure there. After the winter fiascos, one news weekly recently called the place rather unflatteringly "Europe's Mogadishu" on that. That's an increasing problem given how much money has already gone into rebuilding the place over two decades now. The rest of the country - particularly the three tax provider states in the south west - are starting to point out that their infrastructure needs updating too.

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How about requiring those on long term unemployment benefits to do some community service (including help with roadworks for those fit to do so). 1-2 days per week. With a don't show up, don't get benefits rule.

 

Or is that too radical?? :-) Any more acceptable incentive models to get our long term unemployed to contribute to society?

 

From what I have seen, there is in fact a general need for workers / helpers in this country. But most of the unemployed are either "overqualified" or have some other reason not to go back to work. :-) Or that an unfair assumption?

 

In terms of community service, this could include:

- Care for the growing number of elderly folk (low skilled tasks e.g. carrying shopping, cleaning, pushing wheelchairs)

- Support at nurseries / schools (for those considered to be fit/safe to do so)

- Cleaning or repairing streets, parks and public places

- Community safety duty (e.g. patrolling streets and public transport stations at night, for those considered to be fit/safe to do so).

- The list could go on...

 

Most of these duties are needed, but are currently expensive or simply not economically viable for the state/private sector. I believe some European countries are already experimenting with such programs...

 

Thoughts?

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How about requiring those on long term unemployment benefits to do some community service (including help with roadworks for those fit to do so). ...

Thoughts?

A lot of people did not ask for the capitalist system to be imposed on them. The economic system, which is not the same as society, should serve the needs of the people not the other around.

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My solution for unemployment in Germany would be that the unemployed are not only mobilised for Berlin roadworks but also put to good use building new autobahns...just wonder why nobody has ever thought of that.

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My solution for unemployment in Germany would be that the unemployed are not only mobilised for Berlin roadworks but also put to good use building new autobahns...just wonder why nobody has ever thought of that.

 

Somebody already had thought of that...

 

post-89810-13115872188358_thumb.jpg

 

 

Just days after the 1933 Nazi takeover, Adolf Hitler enthusiastically embraced an ambitious autobahn construction project and appointed Fritz Todt the Inspector General of German Road Construction. Soon, over 100,000 labourers worked at construction sites all over Germany. As well as providing employment and improved infrastructure, necessary for economic recovery efforts, the project was also a great success for propaganda purposes. In retrospect, one can say another aim of the autobahn project, beyond creating national unity and strengthening centralised rule, was to provide mobility for the movement of military forces (see Nazi architecture).[4][5]

 

 

WRT to the questions that the OP posed about using the long-term unemployed to provide low cost labour for public service projects, well, I'd be surprised if Berlin is actually being treated as an exception to the nationwide policy.

 

For about 12-15 years, (IIRC,) there's been a €1 job policy (1 Euro hourly pay) Germany wide that the BA (Federal Employment Agency) has been required to enforce, albeit with meagre effect, in the case of workshy refusniks since the introduction of the ALG1 & ALG2 (short & long term unemployment benefit) under the Hartz 4 scheme.

 

The main difficulties with most of the OPs suggestions is that, as in most established trades, they staff all require recognised 2-3 year apprenticeship training. 1Euro jobbers, also by statute, may not be used either to replace any normal existing public employed staff nor to provide any private business with an anti-competitive commercial advantage. Most radical attempts by ARGEs (ArbeitsGemeinschaft= Joint Working Groups between the BA & regional or district councils) to employ large numbers of Hartz 4 recipients have failed due to one or other of these restrictions. They have the virtual effect of a cross between the UK's Health & Safety regs and (the no longer extant) union closed shop agreements.

 

Frankly, any attempt to employ the unskilled and/or often more importantly the unwilled, is almost bound to fail on several counts. Those lowpaid working taxpayers whose full time public service jobs would be at risk of an influx of lower paid replacement labour would probably (understandably) create havoc by bringing all their colleagues out on strike immediately. Also these jobs do actually need to be carried out to a minimum acceptable standard within a set time-frame which is unlikely to happen if the onus to achieve results is put on long-term unemployed folk who are both untrained and reluctant. Not really going to happen. Personally I'd rather pay the amount of tax it takes to keep some (not all) of them out of the workforce than to have to rely on them. If you think Germany offers poor customer service now then just imagine how bad it could get if the service providers staff was wilfully unwilling to be of service.

 

Unfortunately just on grounds of safety, reliability and economics alone the simplest solutions don't seem to add up.

 

2B

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How about requiring those on long term unemployment benefits to do some community service (including help with roadworks for those fit to do so). 1-2 days per week. With a don't show up, don't get benefits rule.

 

Has already been proposed and rejected (compulsion to work is a bit of a taboo subject anyway but there were also arguments against methods of getting those people to the work place - do they get picked up by a bus that travels to everyone's house? do they get a tax break for travel costs? etc, etc.)

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Jein. It appears some window dressing of the un/employment statistics occurs.

 

Long term unemployed who are temporarily unavailable for work live in statistical Shadowland so long as they are occupied with any form of "Massnahme". These may be €1 jobs or weeks of training on creating a German standard CV, dressing for interviews, roleplaying for interviews, language courses, and/or training courses for call centre agents. These courses are run by companies set up for the pupose and paid for out of taxes. Suitably trained candidates have been seen to be obligated to become occupied for a 6 - 12 month period on a small provision basis selling dubious power, gas or other utility contracts for parent companies of the training institutes. During this time the chosen ones remain in receipt of their H4 minimum subsistance payments, but are technically not unemployed. Refusal to comply with any Massnahme deemed worthy by the ARGE usually involves increasingly severe cuts in the persons H4 payments.

 

These measures were actually brought in under good old working class advocate Schroeder (the now Russian Gazprom international negotiator) when he was leader of the previous predominately "Social Democrat" coalition (with the Greens) government. The designers of the new streamlined and commercialy oriented BA which nominally replaced the old Arbeitsamt were business consultants from one of the worlds most famous name firms (I forget whether it was AA or PWC). How surprising it was to find the upper echelon of managment of the new style agency came in to the public sector directly from said firm.

 

This basically follows the pattern of deregulation of government agencies which swept through the USA under Regan and the UK under Thatcher in the 1980s. It continued in both countries under both Clinton and, with even more alarcity, under (pseudo socialist NuLabour) Blair. That Kohl couldn't go right for these less-social more-market measures had, I believe, much to do with the situation wrt charming the voting public of the former DDR. I am sure Thatcher, Kohl and Regan's ghost are more than satisfied by the smooth folding up of principles demonstrated by the move of their opposition successors in to their own camp.

 

Oh dear, I suspect I am being a little sceptical and totally unfair. I think PES may have raised a mirror to ALEC, the transatlantic cousin of the, as yet, unidentifiable interest groups which might be pulling identical strings to make their puppets in Europes emasculated democracies dance.

 

2B

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You can't force the unemployed to work because the unions will object, claiming that that work should go to them and be paid. Labor laws will require that the work and whatever benefits also are given to anyone who works on the project. Then they would have to insured against accident on a construction project.

 

The reason the unemployed are unemployed is that there is no work for them that does not make them miserably unhappy.

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After long years with little to almost no public money spent on road work in the former West-Berlin and the old Länder due to a lack of federal funds and the general lack of tax income the building companys have reduced their skilled staff to survive. Yes, skilled, since road work has nothing to do with spate and shovel anymore, besides it needs high investment into expensive machinery. Offer and demand have adjusted, and the uncapable workforce the OP has in mind would probably cut off more internet cables and water mains as could be repaired in decent time .

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jleigh, i agree, and i would totally do that.

the cleaning part, i mean. me being a woman and looking for "reinigungskraft" type of jobs, but also i like those jobs which, i guess, go under the name of sozial arbeiten (1 euro arbeiten??), such as, i guess, cleaning and caring for parks and wooded areas, cleaning u-bahn stations, and so on.

 

yeah, all the people i know insult me for this, but i mean it. i look for such jobs for real. who cares if i look like a loser.

 

so i am with you, and this is what im gonna say to the jobcenter when im gonna have my interview. let's hope they dont laugh at my face.

 

ciao :-)

post-148517-13120532458046.jpg

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There could be any number of reasons that a worksite goes unattended for a few days. The most plausible ones I can think of being weather, waiting on a specific tool/material/piece of machinery, waiting on a specific specialist.

 

Doing roadwork is a specialized field, at least in Germany, so it's not like any old dick can just show up at the Day Labor center and say, "sign me up". It's the kind of job you have to have to do an Ausbildung and get all sorts of training for. They're not just handing over the keys of forklifts to any old body, you know. Even the guys that tap the stones back into the sidewalks are trained professionals.

 

So your real question is not "bah I am ripping my hair out at both the sight of messy roads and all these disgusting unemployed people, how can I draw a tenuous-at-best correlation between them" but "why aren't more people interested in doing roadwork for a living" or, "why doesn't Berlin own more than one bulldozer?"

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There could be any number of reasons that a worksite goes unattended for a few days. The most plausible ones I can think of being weather, waiting on a specific tool/material/piece of machinery, waiting on a specific specialist.

 

Doing roadwork is a specialized field, at least in Germany, so it's not like any old dick can just show up at the Day Labor center and say, "sign me up". It's the kind of job you have to have to do an Ausbildung and get all sorts of training for. They're not just handing over the keys of forklifts to any old body, you know. Even the guys that tap the stones back into the sidewalks are trained professionals.

 

So your real question is not "bah I am ripping my hair out at both the sight of messy roads and all these disgusting unemployed people, how can I draw a tenuous-at-best correlation between them" but "why aren't more people interested in doing roadwork for a living" or, "why doesn't Berlin own more than one bulldozer?"

 

 

i like this. i always estimated manual ability and i like how they train you professionally here...

in italy, especially in smaller towns, we still have good artisans and builders (the april 2009 earthquake in l'aquila, near which i used to live, tore down whole towns and buildings, except for the many houses built by the men of the family themselves... intragenerational craftsmanship + better choice of materials, not just looking at their price = better quality of life + i still have my house after half of the region is destroyed... and so on...). this ties in also with the quality of said materials. in my hometown back in abruzzo, "cement" meant: 50% cheap rubbish (incl. paper and cardboard, plaster, plasterboard) and 50% sand, which not only is dangerous (ie., let's say...earthquakes...!?) but also means very hot summers, very cold winters, very many hundreds of euros in heating bills and lots of pain and despair.

 

let's not talk about our building companies and their employees, it's a shameful and disgusting situation down there. they are ALL working illegally, ALL without taking the basic security measures, ALL underpayed, 80% immigrants, so the foreman can pay them 2 euros per hour instead of 10, or 20 (depending on the task). and if one of them has an accident, since they are not registered anywhere, someone will just dump the dead or semi-dead body somewhere in a field or along the street. and i am not just talking about the usual napoli or palermo, i am talking about roma, as well as torino, as well as milano.

so now please ask, did any of them study for what they're doing? something about the different materials? how to erect a wall??

and i wouldnt be too sure about many foremen, too, since we are officially the people who boast and talk and talk and talk about how we are good at this or that, in theory..... while, in practice, we have become one of the most incompetent people of the planet.

 

i would love my son, who now is very much into bulldozers, buggies, tractors and the like to grow up still interested in them enough to go and learn how to work them! that's some solid and useful job!

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compulsion to work is a bit of a taboo subject anyway

 

Not really a taboo subject - the constitution outlaws it (Art.12), and that's that. Sure, there's populists and demagogues who are all for it, but the same is true for a lot of other things outlawed by the constitution that such people want to introduce - capital punishment (Art.102), discrimination (Art.3), freedom of religion (Art.4), elitarian/discriminatory private schools (Art.7), the right to asylum (Art.16a)...

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Solutions anyone?

Yah, put you in charge and kick those lazy kraut motherfuckers out.

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What kind of autobahns do you think you'd get out of people who don't want to work?

 

Ahh...one of those people are you? If someone is out of work it's because they are lazy and don't want to work?

I'm not going to argue with you over this, because it's like arguing with someone who claims that the sky is filled with chocolate cakes. That person is obviously a bit childish.

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