Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - Page 11 News List

German town raises ire for scheme using asylum seekers as porters

Luggage on a platform at a railway station in Berlin, Germany on March 4, 2011.

Photo: Reuters

A German town has halted a scheme offering asylum seekers 1.05 euros an hour to carry luggage at a station after rail operator Deutsche Bahn refused permission due to a public outcry and criticism that the project harked back to colonial times.

The southern German town of Schwaebisch Gmuend started the scheme recently for nine asylum seekers to help passengers get up a steep flight of metal steps erected at the station due to construction work.

The mayor originally said he hoped the program would help the integration of the town’s 250 asylum seekers, but pictures of the refugees, mostly from African nations, in bright red T-shirts and straw hats unleashed an outcry.

Complaints about the hourly rate — about eight times below the level German politicians cite for a minimum wage — poured into the mayor’s office and sparked a Facebook campaign.

Deutsche Bahn said it had not been aware of the conditions and would pay its own employees their normal rate to do the job. A spokesman for Schwaebisch Gmuend said that the conservative mayor was disappointed at Deutsche Bahn’s decision and blamed misplaced political correctness.









1. hark back v. phr.


(hui2 dao4 huo4 ji4 qi3 guo4 qu4 de5 shi4; yu3 guo4 qu4 de5 shi4 lei4 si4)

例: The movie has a style that harks back to the golden age of Hollywood.


2. flight n.

樓梯或台階的一段 (lou2 ti1 huo4 tai2 jie1 de5 yi2 duan4)

例: He fell down a flight of stairs.


3. misplaced adj.

不合時宜的;不得體的;不切實際的 (bu4 he2 shi2 yi2 de5;

bu4 de2 ti3 de5; bu2 qie4 shi2 ji4 de5)

例: I’m afraid your confidence in my abilities is misplaced.


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