“Lack of respect”: Employer president criticizes Heil

In view of the shortage of skilled workers, Labor Minister Heil has called on companies to take action. Employers’ president Dulger speaks of “lectures that are far removed from reality”.

The president of the employers’ association BDA, Rainer Dulger, has sharply criticized Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). Referring to statements made by the minister on the employment of older people, Dulger accused him on Tuesday of a lack of “respect for the achievements of companies.” Heil should stop “firing smoke candles” to divert attention from policy failures with regard to the shortage of skilled workers, he said.

Heil had called on German companies to employ more older workers. “The fact that many companies no longer hire people over 60 is an attitude that we can therefore no longer afford,” he told Bild am Sonntag. Companies would have to provide age-appropriate jobs and qualification. On the other hand, the minister again rejected raising the retirement age.

Companies do not need “any lectures that are far removed from reality,” the employers’ president said in this regard. “The employment of older people in our companies has developed positively in recent years – and in many sectors.”

Dulger criticizes “false incentives” of the policy
Instead, he said, politics has set “false incentives” that “exacerbate the shortage of labor and skilled workers.” Dulger cited in particular the early retirement at 63 years of age, which is free of deductions, for those who have been insured for many years. This “takes people out of the companies who, as bearers of experience and responsibility, leave deep gaps”.

In addition, he complained about an “unprecedented expansion of state responsibilities” that goes hand in hand with “an equally unprecedented expansion of jobs in the public sector. The state wants more personnel everywhere, he said, and is thus itself exacerbating the labor and skilled worker problem.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously spoken out in favor of fewer early retirements, sparking a debate about the actual retirement age. “The chancellor’s analysis of early retirement, on the other hand, was correct,” said Dulger, president of the employers’ association. “A federal labor minister would do much better to follow the statements of his chancellor than to fire smoke candles.”


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