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Sweden – Troubled Uniflex accused of more illegal practices

March 26 2012

The Swedish radio station, Sveriges Radio, today brought forward new allegations against one of the country’s largest staffing firms, Uniflex. Earlier this year the company was accused of offering employees “fictional” assignments to avoid paying a guaranteed salary to which staff are legally entitled. Back in January, Uniflex CEO Jan Bengtsson then confirmed that ten employees were affected by such practices but now it is alleged that the number of these cases is higher.

The radio station claims that it has been in contact with “several people from different parts of the country” to investigate the matter and quotes a number of Uniflex employees impacted. One former employee is quoted as saying that Uniflex had offered her a fictional assignment to avoid paying a guaranteed salary.

“They [Uniflex] asked me if I wanted to go on this assignment. But in fact, I knew that it was closed. If I had turned it down I would not have received a guaranteed salary so therefore I said yes,” the employee claimed in an interview with the news station.

Agency workers in Sweden who are without a job are entitled to a guaranteed basic salary that the staffing agency has to pay for. The only exception to this rule is when employees turn down a job in which case they lose their entitlement to the basic salary. Uniflex is being accused of having offered some of its employees such non-existing jobs that some then declined to accept. By doing so the employees were no longer eligible to receive their basic salary.

In response to these new allegations, Uniflex today said that it would not tolerate any “errors” that would taint the company’s reputation and said that such practices violate the firm’s values, rules and collective agreements. The staffing firm also said that it had “worked hard” to resolve the matter and has initiated an investigation “without finding any additional cases. At the same time, we have adapted a range of preventive measures to ensure the quality of our operations.” It emphasised that “things like that should not have to happen in our business.”

“Uniflex takes these kinds of issues very seriously and are of course strongly opposed to this type of behaviour. We will continue to be a workplace that ensures our customers and employees the best,” the firm said today.

The firm was first accused of using such practices in January and the scandal made national headlines. 

Uniflex is Sweden's fourth largest employment agency according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ research. The firm has over 5,000 employees and specialises in hiring and recruiting personnel for the industrial, construction, warehouse, transport & logistics and commercial/office sectors. It provides both temporary staffing and permanent recruitment. 

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