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Belgium – Staffing firms hit back over harsh claims by students

05 June 2012

Employment agencies in Belgium have hit back against claims made by students who accuse the industry of abusing daily contracts and posting “fake jobs”, i.e. jobs that do not exist.

This comes after last week’s protest by students and mainly young people in the Eastern Belgian town of Oostende who have complained about unfair practices in the staffing industry after it has also emerged that some agencies allegedly judge young jobseekers by merely their physical appearance.

The federation of employment agencies in Belgium, Federgon, acknowledged the complaints and said they had addressed the issue in the National Labour Council – particularly with regard to the one-day contracts which can only be used if the company can prove there is a real need of flexible working arrangements.

Staffing firms in the region vehemently deny the students’ claims and say that “fake jobs” in particular do not exist and that the picture painted for one-day contracts is too biased as they also offer advantages and are common practice in other European countries.   

“I wonder what the advantage would be of luring people in with fake jobs,” said Geert Van Droogenbroeck, marketing manager at Adecco to the paper Nieuwsblad.

The students had especially complained that agencies do not communicate sufficiently with temporary workers who therefore miss out on jobs. Mr Van Droogenbroeck admitted that this may sometimes be the case.

But staffing firms also said that employment agencies are regularly inspected and that rules are strictly followed. The so-called fake jobs can occur when posts are not quickly removed from databases, leading workers to think that there are open vacancies when there are not.

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