Daimler reportage on low wages casts large shadows on the S-Class presentation

It is certainly a coincidence that just before the S-Class Big Bang in Hamburg a television report and a talk show asked the question why the taxpayer must support poor earners on the Mercedes assembly line financially via Hartz IV. Even if the conspiracy theorists at Daimler communicate it differently and talk about a campaign against company boss Dieter Zetsche. It is also strange that neither works council chief Klemm wants to have known anything about workers being paid dumping wages through work contracts, nor did the board member for personnel, Wilfried Porth, take offense. In any case, no one has prevented the internally great propagated compliance rules, the Basic Law on Corporate Ethics and generally good behavior from being trampled on when starvation wages are paid on the Mercedes assembly line. “Compliance with all labor law requirements to delimit the activities of third-party companies is a top priority at Daimler. We are committed to the current regulations regarding work contracts and the use of external workers. Violations are not acceptable to us. We would also immediately turn them off, ”said HR Director Wilfried Porth in a press release.

Daimler claims that the company commissioned with the work contract pays these wages and is also responsible for them, but not the company. There they only placed the order with an external company. What they then pay their employees cannot be known or influenced. That doesn't exactly sound credible. And it will hurt Daimler in the next few months. The discussion that has now started in the television program “Hart, aber fair” (http://mediathek.daserste.de/sendungen_a-z/561146_hart-aber-fair/14579660_21-00-uhr-hungerlohn-bei-luxusmarken-die-neue) Daimler will not be able to prevent it. In the end, Daimler will not be able to avoid terminating this type of employment immediately. The works council must also press for this if it wants to remain credible.

The Handelsblatt comments quite aptly online:

Daimler could use more serenity

On Wednesday, the Daimler Group proudly presents its flagship, the new Mercedes S-Class. Everything is prepared for the big event. With the S-Class, everything has to be perfect, so that the people of Stuttgart earn the most money. Too bad that a resourceful SWR journalist published his latest research results about starvation wages in Mercedes factories shortly before the S-Class was launched. Daimler reacted rather awkwardly to the report, the journalist had not complied with the rules of the game and was doing covert research in the Mercedes factories. Has the Daimler Group never heard of undercover reports?

Since Daimler's top government spokesman Jörg Howe was a journalist himself, he shouldn't allow such thin excuses. The nerves are obviously bare in the house. Was it actually expected at Daimler that the SWR reporter would only ask the press department for permission to do the research? Which rules of the game should the journalist have disregarded?

The film, of course, came out of time for Daimler. But the company really can't expect consideration for the S-Class party. A PR professional should know that. Instead of shifting responsibility onto others ("The contractor is responsible for the low wages"), Daimler should quickly make it clear that this type of starvation wage is not tolerated in-house. Anything else would be harmful. For the image and for Dieter Zetsche and his colleagues on the board.

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