New German chem union boss urges Govt for reliable energy policies

14 October 2009 16:38  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Michael Vassiliadis, the newly elected head of Germany’s chemicals and energy union IG BCE, called on the government on Wednesday to put forward clear and reliable energy policies to ensure that Germany’s chemical and other industrial producers have access to affordable energy supplies.

In a keynote speech to delegates at the IG BCE's congress in Hanover, Vassiliadis urged Berlin to quickly prepare legislation, that Parliament had failed to pass earlier this year, to help the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in Germany.

Vassiliadis also warned Germany’s new coalition government not to give in to proposals by some business groups to curb worker's rights or union's collective bargaining powers.

The outcome of September’s election – ending with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in a coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats – was not a vote for “economic excesses,” Vassiliadis said, adding that the economic and financial crisis was not an accident or the result of a few misconceived financial products.

Rather, Vassiliadis believed it was the outcome of systematic economic policies that had favoured unregulated markets and greed, at the expense of social values.

“Our country must not become a place for the destruction of social rights along lines suggested by the Free Democrats,” he said.

Vassiliadis also said he was opposed to cutting corporate taxes as a way out of the crisis and that corporate tax cuts were contrary to a sustainable finance and economic policy as they would come at the expense of government services or future generations.

Rather, Vassiliadis urged a higher tax rate on higher incomes.

He suggested a 50% rate tax for incomes above €125,000/year ($187,000), saying this would be an important contribution to social justice in tough times.

In related news, German chemical producers association VCI said it wants the new Merkel government to grant companies a 10% tax credit for research and development expenses.

($1 = €0.67)

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