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Germany – BMW new HR concept to cut temporaries

02 July 2012

BMW is planning a new HR concept to halve the number of its temporary workers as thousands of employees may be offered permanent posts, helping the firm to solve its “temp problem” which has been massively criticised by unions and work councils.

The German automobile giant has received much scrutiny by the press and trade unions in recent months over its “excessive use” of temporary agency workers, something which has landed the company in court this year.

According to the newspaper Wirtschaftswoche, BMW wants to cut its number of temporary workers from 12,000 to 6,000 by offering more temporary workers permanent positions. But the company is still in talks with its work council and the trade union IG Metall, one of the largest unions in the country.

This comes after Staffing Industry Analyst reported in March that BMW and unions representatives were in engaged in “intensive” and “confidential” talks concerning the matter. The negotiations are said to be concluded in “the coming weeks”, according to a spokesperson.

The paper writes that BMW could reduce the number of its temporary staff from 17% to around 8% or 10%. Although other carmakers in Germany, such as VW and Daimler, also make extensive use of temporary staff, BMW is said to employ the highest number of temporary workers, something the unions have harshly condemned.

Earlier this year the firm was sued after union representatives at BMW had refused to renew 1,100 temporary contracts, claiming that this practice created a two-tier system of employees. However, the Labour Court has so far ruled in favour of the company.

The works council does not believe that a reduction in temporary workers will impact the company’s flexibility.  Car makers in Germany have in recent years made increasing usage of temporary employees to cope better with fluctuations in demand and supply. 

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