Publication: Financial Times

Full Citation

  • Title East Germany's Labour Shortage
  • Author From Our Own Correspondent Reuter
  • Publication Title Financial Times
  • Collection The Financial Times
  • Date Thursday,  Sept. 29, 1955
  • Issue Number 20,664
  • Page Number 2
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section Business News
  • Source Library The Financial Times Limited
  • Copyright Statement © The Financial Times Limited. All rights reserved.
EAST GERMANY'S LABOUR SHORTAGE FOREIGN ORDERS DELAYED __ From Our Own Correspondent BONN, Sept. 28. Western Germany's industrial boom is having an unexpected impact on the economy of Communist Eastern Germany. The migration of industrial workers from the Soviet zoneto Western Germany, a mere trickle two years ago, is now assuming vast proportions. According to officials who deal with the scrutiny of refugees seeking admission in the West, 40 per cent. of the refugees, who come in at a monthly rate of 20,000, are industrial workers of all descriptions. Skilled labour accounts for about 25 to 30 per cent. of arrivals this month, as against three to four per cent. in previous years. There are, of course, still a great many who flee for political reasons and for fear of being called up. SKILLED WORKERS This, however, does not apply to skilled workers who in any case would be exempt from military service. They are in search of better conditions and are migrants rather than refugees. Many of them follow invitations from rela- tives who fled to the West years ago, and in some cases they want to work in the West for a limited period and then return.. Soviet Zone authorities have started tightening regulations for border crossing. Travel permits are no longer granted as readily as during the new course" era of 1954, and it is known that written undertakings have been asked from technicians not to spend their leave in Western OG ,many. Any continued depletion of the skilled labour force of the Soviet Zone would play havoc with the already overstrained economy in which, during the last few years, the ndustrial labour force de- clined from 6.3m, to 6.1m. men, whereas in Western Germany it rose from 14.5m. to nearly 18m. The Soviet Zone is also in great need of technicians in order to iptensify export efforts. ORDER DIFFICULTIES Efforts to capture Near and Far Eastern markets based on lower prices have had initial successes ut have met with difficulties this year. Last May the Egyptian order for high-tension lines and eight transformers--4,000 tons of steel mast-was obtained owing to a last-minute reduction of-the bid by 23 per cent. Work has started in Egypt, but owing to a shortage of copper, the dates of delivery have been missed and a heavy fine may be the consequence. The projected radio and tele- phone factory five miles north of Peking was contracted in August, 1951, but the final project was oom- pleted last May after nearly four years. Construction work Will not start before next year. - The Korean diesel engine plant to be built at a cost of S45m. was arranged in the second half of 1954 and technical projecting s still far from being completed. It is also'doubtful whether the suar- can factory for Indonesla--dfaly throughput 2000 tons of cane- will be finhed by 1957 as arranged. STEPS TO AVERT WINTER FOOD CRISIS BRUIN, Sept. 28, The But oerma Govenmeat has taken unpreo nted meoeu to avert the treofafod r this winter o tho e flt A nM, t: Government hI seu a .t Spoc n docrs holding the eirmato or local ad distriot councils p sonally i posible for the tlReilv ompltion ors the root and man harvest In their areas. The decree laid down that t6b was no job ImpOrtMt. ntii 4t this tlme to prevent r hoer1 o helping with the .]ryeMt, " volunteer" wee to b rW 0t- ifrom all oli and il a 0 r V , the potto and bet harvest he clasd with the rJpening of the grain and oil . rop and created Imposlibo dm .on exntinp r l labour adharvest ma or ry, ,/.' W to agriultural amm her, sky thrat or. I om'tnith in"thj ardion. t ough fit ol debatablo how much oo the premnt mergendy Is d t tothe weqtbr aud how m to bad plannsng and orpn. .,e laok .of ttral labpur, besy olm. im a dirot reIl, of0 luc iarze s nt t"Iri