After reports that Germany's economy is not expected to grow this year, the country's corporate managers increasingly are seeking ways to cut personnel costs. Most firms will achieve this by cutting jobs and shortening working hours. Cutting back on hours, as opposed to layoffs, is an attractive option for many employers who want to retain highly qualified staff members. These proposals, especially those involving wage cuts, have drawn criticism from unions.
See Bettina Wassener and Hugh Williamson, Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2003