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Germany – Agency worker claims €18,000 against staffing firm

24 October 2012

An agency worker has filed for €18,000 in retrospective payment after an illegal collective agreement had paid him much lower wages than those of his permanent counterparts.

The IG Metall union supported the agency worker in bringing forward his claim after he was employed at the firm Alstom in Salzgitter where his pay was 30% lower than that of direct hires. 

A labour court in Köln ruled on 4 July that his payment had been unjust. Although the sentence is not yet legally binding because the employer has appealed against the ruling, the union is “very confident” that his claim will pass further levels of jurisdictions.

The worker, who has not been identified, was working at the firm from 2003 to 2008. He was not able to demand all of his pay because it had fallen under the statute of limitations. However, for the year 2008 he claimed €18,000.

It is believed that at least thousand agency workers in Germany have filed lawsuits against their former staffing firms which used a collective agreement by the Christian Unions (CGZP). This agreement was rendered void in a high-profile ruling by Germany's highest labour court, allowing agency workers to claim back wages and outstanding social contributions.

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