- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A look at labor unrest and outrage over executive pay in Europe fueled by the global economic crisis.

FRANCE _ French workers for U.S. manufacturer 3M, angry about proposed job cuts, were holding an executive hostage Wednesday. Also Wednesday, workers for Germany’s Continental AG marched on the French presidential palace, setting fire to stacks of tires on the way, over the company’s plans to shut down an auto parts factory.

SCOTLAND _ Vandals smashed windows Wednesday at the suburban Edinburgh home of Fred Goodwin, the ex-CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland who resigned in disgrace but with an annual pension of about 700,000 pounds ($1.2 million).

GREECE _ Attacks against financial institutions _ commonplace in Greece _ have increased in intensity over the past few months. Anarchists say anger over the credit crisis gives them an opportunity recruit more people to their cause.

GERMANY _ Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest lender, said Tuesday that the pay for Chief Executive Josef Ackermann fell 90 percent in 2008 _ from euro14 million to euro1.9 million _ as he and the company’s four other top managers refused bonuses in light of the bank’s losses and public anger.



SWEDEN _ Bonuses have caused outrage in Sweden, which prides itself on an egalitarian society, and big companies like truck maker Volvo and the SEB bank have been forced to withdraw compensation schemes for top executives.

SWITZERLAND: UBS AG, which received a $60 billion government bailout, said in November that its chief executive, chairman and executive board will receive no bonuses for 2008. Several former top officials have declined or handed back million-dollar payments. But the says it will pay 2.2 billion francs (about $2 billion) in bonuses to lower-ranked staff.

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