- - Sunday, September 11, 2011


Minister expects nation to mandate minimum wage

BERLIN — German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that the introduction of an across-the-board minimum wage was only a matter of time in Europe’s top economy, in an interview to be published Monday.

“I am convinced that we, in the short or the long run, will have a minimum wage in all sectors,” she told news weekly Der Spiegel.

She said the minimum wage, which would mark a fundamental change in German industrial policy, would have to be based on an agreement between employers and employees and not imposed by the state.

“We must not allow the amount of a general minimum wage to become a political football,” she said.

Ms. von der Leyen seized on an initiative launched by the CDA employees’ wing of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The CDA plans at a party congress in November to present the proposal for a legal minimum wage, which Der Spiegel said was also gaining support in the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Ms. Merkel’s center-right coalition.

However the employers’ wing of the CDU dismissed the initiative as a job-killer.

“There will be no across-the-board legal minimum wage under this coalition,” a deputy leader of the party, Michael Fuchs, told Der Spiegel.


Shuttered subsidiary charged in Oracle theft

SAN FRANCISCO — A week after a big win against Oracle, German software maker SAP AG is dealt a new blow in a theft case involving a now-defunct subsidiary.

The Justice Department has criminally charged subsidiary, TomorrowNow, with 12 counts related to the theft of software and documents from Oracle Corp. websites in a four-year-old case.

The theft, which SAP has acknowledged, led to a $1.3 billion jury verdict against SAP last year. Last week, a federal judge threw out the award, calling it “grossly excessive.” Unless Oracle accepts a lower, $272 million award, a new trial will be ordered.

The criminal charges were filed Thursday. SAP will be on the hook for penalties, but the proposed amount is under seal. SAP agreed to a plea deal and sentencing is set for Wednesday.


Hurricane causes biggest casino revenue drop

ATLANTIC CITY — Hurricane Irene blew away a historic chunk of the Atlantic City casinos’ revenue last month: The nearly 20 percent decline was the biggest monthly plunge in the 33-year history of the nation’s second-largest gambling market.

The storm forced the city’s 11 casinos to close for three days, causing an estimated $45 million worth of lost business during what would have been one of the busiest weekends of the year. The year-over-year numbers also were hurt by the fact that there was one fewer Sunday this August compared with August 2010.

The $278.8 million the gambling halls took in was down 19.8 percent, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. The previous record was set in March 2009, which saw a 19.4 percent decline.


McDonald’s shares fall as key measure misses mark

NEW YORK — Shares of McDonald’s Corp. fell more than 5 percent early Friday afternoon after the fast-food giant reported a slowdown in some overseas markets and missed analysts’ expectations on a key revenue measure.

The company said revenue at stores open at least 13 months declined 0.3 percent in August in the region of Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. That marked the first monthly decline in that area since November 2009. The company didn’t give many specifics on how individual countries fared but said a slowdown in Japan offset strength in China and Australia.

Companywide, revenue at stores open at least 13 months rose 3.5 percent, the company’s 100th consecutive month of growth by that metric. However, that missed analysts’ expectations for a 4.9 percent rise.

The figure climbed 3.9 percent in the U.S. and 2.7 percent in Europe, McDonald’s largest market.


Fiat’s Doblo van to enter U.S., Canada

ROME — Fiat SpA, which controls Chrysler, plans to sell its Doblo van in the U.S. and Canada starting in 2013.

The Turin-based automaker said Friday the Fiat Doblo vehicles would be sold under the Ram brand. Fiat said it had signed a letter of understanding with its Turkish joint-venture partner Tofas for the export of 190,000 units under a seven-year-deal.

The Doblo is made at the Tofas plant in Bursa, Turkey. A Fiat statement said Tofas would invest more than $160 million to make the necessary adjustments for the North American market.

Fiat has completed its purchase of U.S. and Canadian government shares of Chrysler to become the majority stockholder.

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