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Germany

When The Rank And File Decide What The Big Bosses Earn

Like other workers, those at the German railway company Deutsche Bahn have clear opinions about those running the show. Now, employee satisfaction will actually weigh on the compensation of senior executives.

Deutsche Bahn's executives should be looking there too (Comrade Foot)
Deutsche Bahn's executives should be looking there too (Comrade Foot)

*NEWSBITES

DIE WELT/Worldcrunch

BERLIN -- Employees at the German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) will soon have an opportunity to give their bosses an earful. And you can bet the company's big wigs will be listening: from now on, what they get paid depends in part on employee satisfaction.

DB plans to send out questionnaires in November to the approximately 300,000 who work either directly for the company or for one of its foreign subsidiaries. The document, which Die Welt had an opportunity to examine, gives employees plenty of leeway for letting off steam.

According to Dr. Rüdiger Grube, DB's chairman and CEO, the questionnaires aim to give employees a vehicle for recording -- anonymously -- exactly how they feel about their place of employment and the problems they perceive.

Questions range from "Do your superiors recognize exceptional performance and give fair feedback in general about your work?" to "Are the chances for career development and advancement at DB good?" Other questions deal with the quality of internal information, whether or not relations between co-workers are deemed "collegial and respectful," and if working for DB allows for a satisfactory work/life balance.

The endeavor is not without dangers for Grube and other top managers. The last time DB asked questions – to a much smaller group – it was a disaster. Results in early 2010 showed that 70% of DB employees were unhappy with their jobs, with large numbers saying they lacked motivation and felt frustrated. Since then, management has come round to the idea that it's not just enough to ask. This time there will be follow-up actions such as workshops, at which managers and staff will work through the issues together.

And starting next year, DB bonuses for top managers will be established on four sets of criteria, with the level of employee and customer satisfaction accounting for one half. In the words of big boss Grube: "As of now, managers will feel the degree of employee and customer satisfaction in their wallets."

DB employee representatives, who have been somewhat skeptical of the idea of questionnaires since the previous fiasco, are supporting the move. "It could really turn out to be a viable way to bring about improvements," said one. The representative added, however, that employees shouldn't get their hopes up too. DB, he explained, wants to keep efforts to improve things as low-key as possible.

Read the full story in German by Nikolaus Doll

Photo –Comrade foot

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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