By Dietmar Henning in Germany:
Millions for Volkswagen CEO, no money for European migrants
16 March 2012
There are occasions when a confluence of events can give a more accurate picture of social conditions than a gamut of statistics on income, unemployment and poverty. Last weekend, newspapers and Internet sites in Germany reported that the Federal Labour Ministry had decided that citizens of 17 European countries coming to Germany will no longer have the right to apply for welfare (Hartz IV) benefits.
Hartz IV is already a scandalous deterioration compared to earlier German benefits for unemployed workers. It is named after Volkswagen boss Peter Hartz, who “reformed” unemployment benefits at the request of the German government. That rich man really liked pushing poor people back to the nineteenth century of Charles Dickens’ books. Later, Mr Hartz was convicted for fraud in a big sex and corruption scandal of Volkswagen fat cats.
One day later, on Monday, another report dominated the headlines—the news that the nine members of the Volkswagen executive doubled their salary last year to a total of €70 million. CEO Martin Winterkorn alone took in €17.4 million, of which €11 million was a bonus payment. €17.4 million is the equivalent of €2,000 per hour, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
The previous year as well Winterkorn was the top earner among the CEOs of companies registered on the German DAX stock index, although with the lesser sum of €9.3 euros.
Alongside Winterkorn, other board members were able to take home between €7.2 million and €8.1 million.