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A Pimple on the Butt of Humanity.
A Pimple on the Butt of Humanity.
Sturgeon General's Sensitivity Warning!
This entries' title may prove upsetting to people with Pimples, Butts or to Humanity.
Every year at exactly this time, a great debate breaks out and rages over the number of paid holidays, outside of the normal holiday entitlement, a German worker receives and the German employers are required to pay for. Every year it is much the same. The employers say that, if everyone worked on this (or numerous other) holiday rather than being paid to have the day free, the country's growth and employment possibilities would be greatly increased and the growth targets for the year would be achieved without problems. The employees, who in some areas such as Bavaria enjoy thirteen extra days free aside from their holiday entitlement of between twenty-four and thirty paid days each year, claim that it is just the moneymakers, the employers who will benefit from this additional work day, and not the worker themselves. The government sits in the middle and, as with each year, appears to debate the drawbacks and the benefits and then, a few days after the holiday has passed, decides that it isn't worth taking any action until next year, since the day has already been enjoyed / paid for and it is no longer a matter of urgency.
In France the government has taken a slightly different attitude. This former religious holiday is, today, a working day for the first time. Shops, factories and all manner of businesses should, theoretically, be open and manned with a full workforce.
Theoretically. Because in reality most of the French appear to have taken this former holiday off anyway; a chance to enjoy the spring weather, lounge around on beaches and in street cafes and generally live the life of Riley. Naturally, those working in cafes and restaurants, theatres, entertainment centres and the like have a normal working day but, because it is now no longer a holiday, they receive no additional bomus for working on this day. The employer in the social and entertainment area has the additional benefits of no longer having to pay the bonus, but still gaining custom from those not working.
The argument I heard expressed on Saturday from someone here taking the day off, as is still normal, was that the government and the employers wish the money we earn to be plowed back into the various businesses through shopping, leisure activities and the like. If everyone is working, how can we, the great unwashed, get out and spend that money?
And which holidays would be chosen to be dropped without trampling over the feelings of all these people used to having a day free? National Reunification Day? It was suggested last year that the German Reunification Day (3 October), a reasonably new addition to the calender, be dropped in favour of a working day; the idea that it be changed to the first weekend of October hit with no support whatsoever, although this would have been the better solution. Can the Americans imagine the 4th of July being a working day, or changed to the first weekend of July? For the Germans, even though this holiday is but a decade old, it has the same resonance; no change, thank you very much.
So things continue as before, for the time being at least. Perhaps if a more conservative, business oriented government gains power the holiday entitlement will be changed without any consultation; that is what the CDU in Germany wish but, as we have seen in the past, once they gain power, everything gets put onto the back burner and the things which were so important, so vital for Germany whilst they were in opposition, are no longer of great interest.
Me? I am happy with the holiday as it is. I can go out and drink a coffee and eat a slice of cake in the sun (weather-gods permitting), or work right through. Let other people enjoy their holiday too; spread the good feeling; spread the hard earned money and ensure that, while the workers get their one percent pay rise, managers receive the usual five or ten percent plus benefits. That's the way things work, all over the world. It works well. Why repair something that isn't broken?