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Germany — Absence of minimum wage puts temporary employees at a disadvantage

21 August 2009

According to a new research report published by the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and the Hans-Boeckler Foundation, reveals that temporary employees are better looked after in other European countries due to the fact there is no minimum wage in Germany.

Wages are negotiated in bilateral agreements (Tarifvertrag) between the Unions and the respective employers' organisation. The government does not get involved in this. Legally, temporary employees have the right to earn the same amount of money as their full-time counterparts unless a specific bilateral agreement says otherwise.


In the past the Unions found this agreement acceptable. Now the largest Unions DGB, Verdi and IG Metall feel that the current bilateral agreements need to be revised because they are inadequate and do not protect temporary workers sufficiently.

According to Verdi "temporary employment is currently being abused in Germany in order to systematically reduce wages. Temporary employees deserve to be paid just as much as their full-time counterparts."

The research report highlights the 'Equal Pay' concept practised in France and also mentions that in The Netherlands temporary employees have the right of equal pay after six months of working for a company.

However, the Employer's Association 'Gesamtmetall' fundamentally disagrees with the Unions. Gesamtmetall President Karsten Tacke, told Frankfurter Rundschau "these Unions have absolutely nothing to do with temporary employees who have their own unions. It is up to them to negotiate their working conditions with the Employer's Associations."

"We disagree with equal pay for temporary employees because unreasonable wage increases make temporary employees unattractive to employers and destroy jobs. Companies need good value and flexibility of personnel in order to create new jobs when the economy goes up."

 

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