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Denmark – Staffing firm sued in ‘forced labour’ case

06 November 2012

The largest trade union in Demark is taking a staffing firm to court after it has been revealed the company paid foreign workers excessively low salaries. The 3F union, which represents over 349,000 members, claims that a Hungarian couple, hired as farm workers, were victims of wage dumping.

The union has therefore sued the agency, AndreasAgro ApS, which is based in Copenhagen and specialises in supplying agricultural workers from Hungary.  The case will be handled by the City Court in Copenhagen with the union demanding DKK 187,000 (approximately €25,000) in outstanding salary payments from the staffing agency. 

“Our members have been exposed to something that, to me, looks like forced labour. It is one of the worst [cases] I have seen. And we will do everything we can to ensure that our members receive compensation,” said 3F representative, Morten Fischer-Nielsen.

The two Hungarians had been employed from March to June 2012 and did not realise they were underpaid.

On their website, the staffing agency states that they charge clients a fee of DKK88 per hour (approximately €11.80). The union claims the Hungarian farm workers received fair pay of DKK34 or around €4.50 per hour.

Andreas Kauders, the owner of the firm, said: “I would like to give them the wages set by the 3F Union. But I cannot. The customers will not pay. It's not even up for discussion. I have competitors who hire out labour for DKK 80 per hour.”

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