5 Jul 2014

France, Germany switch off

6:19 am on 5 July 2014

The Euro zone's two largest economies slipped into low gear as workers in Germany and France skipped shifts or put up TV screens in the workplace to watch the crunch World Cup quarter-final between their nations.

Politics also ground slowly to a halt, with the ruling Socialists in France even demanding that the day's session be curtailed to end before kick-off time, to accommodate senators eager to follow the match live.

In Germany, auto giant Volkswagen cancelled the late shift for 4,000 workers at its main plant in the northern city of Wolfsburg, and a company spokesman said similar arrangements would be made at other factories.

Drug-maker Bayer came up with another solution aimed at keeping business ticking over during the two hours of the encounter.

Employees were allowed to swap their shifts with others less interested in football or - with a manager's approval - take time off from holiday or working time credits.