Do I hear $6 an hour? $5?
By Reed Tucker

(FORTUNE Magazine) – IT'S SUMMERTIME, AND IF there was ever a time to envy those darned Germans and French and Swedes, it's now. Look at them, with their four weeks (or more) of vacation and their short workweeks. But not so fast: A ruthless German employment website is provoking controversy by launching a rare attack against quasi-socialist Europe's sacred cow: the worker.

The site, called Job Dumping (, has a simple premise: Employers offer jobs, including a starting salary, and eager workers bid against one another for the position. The, uh, "winner" is the person who agrees to take the job for the least amount of money. Sounds like an idea that would be right at home in cutthroat America, right? Sure enough, founder Fabian Löw says that he plans to bring Job Dumping to the U.S. this fall.

Löw, 31, says he created the site in part as a political statement against Germany's rigid, rule-encumbered employment market. Not surprisingly, since its launch in November, Job Dumping has been criticized by German leaders and unions as hastening the race to the bottom. Via e-mail, Löw calls the powerful German unions "job killers" and defends Job Dumping as a way to goose the economy in a country where un- employment hovers at 12%. "Lower wages generate jobs for industries, companies, and households," Löw says.

Some 20,000 Germans use the site, and 3,000 have landed jobs in mostly blue-collar fields, including babysitting, machine repair, and bodyguard services. So far, major German companies have stayed away, but Löw says he hopes that larger U.S. firms will be more receptive--assuming the concept doesn't violate any labor laws, which Löw's lawyers are still investigating. Job Dumping earns its money by being paid a percentage of a worker's wages, between 0.8% and 3.9% of a full-time employee's first month of salary. But, you know, maybe you'd like to offer Löw 0.7%? Or 0.6%? -- Reed Tucker