12. June 2014
The proposed new German minimum wage is a major topic of conversation in the country. The Federation of German Newspaper Publishers has also waded into the debate.
German minimum wage
In April 2014, Chancellor Angela Merkal approved the first ever German minimum wage. The wage is due to be introduced in 2015 and is set at €8.50.
Exceptions for the press
The Federation of German Newspaper Publishers (Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger) has expressed objection to the policy and is demanding an exception for daily newspapers to reflect their role in society in forming and shaping political opinion.
The demands come after former Federal Court of Justice judge, Udo di Fabio, produced a report setting out the consequences of the proposed minimum wage.
According to the association, the judge came to the conclusion that Parliament’s economic and social policy will affect the commercial foundation of press freedom. The association states that it is undeniable that daily newspapers now have to compete with internet publications and public radio.
The foreseen problem concerns the delivery of papers, particularly in rural areas. The association argues that if the German minimum wage were to apply to the newspaper branch, it would become uneconomical to deliver daily newspapers to as many as two million homes, representing around 13% of the readership. The conversion to a minimum wage would cost the branch around €225 million, the association asserts. It also claims that the majority of delivery personnel work in so-called mini-jobs and that the capacity to earn additional money is restricted.
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