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At its annual conference last week the German Association of Temporary Employment Agencies (BZA) demonstrated both great self confidence and a lingering insecurity, German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche reports.
The confidence is based on the strong growth rate temporary employment is experiencing in Germany at the moment. The market is heading for 800,000 temporary employees and it is not unlikely that the one million mark will be reached very soon.
Even the opening up of the market for temporary staffing agencies from Eastern European member states of the European Union with the threat of much reduced hourly wages unless the industry and the government can agree on a minimum salary, is suddenly seen as an advantage because of the great talent potential in these countries. There is already a shortage of qualified temporary employees in Germany.
Nevertheless, there is also insecurity as a result of the recently highly-publicised 'Schlecker scandal' where Europe's largest drugstore chain sacked large numbers of permanent employees only to re-employ them again as temporary employees via a closely related temporary staffing agency at much reduced pay and far worse conditions.
Schlecker has now stopped the practice bowing to intense pressure from the highest echelons of the German establishment and the staffing industry claims that Schlecker is a retailer and threfore not in any way representative for the temporary staffing industry.
However, Wirtschaftswoche highlights the fact that the agency Schlecker worked with (Meniar) was for many years a member of a temporary employer industry association and that there are still many in-house staffing agencies who continue the Schlecker practice whilst at the same time being accepted as members of one of the three temporary employer associations (BZA, iGz and AMP).
According to Wirtschaftswoche the temporary staffing industry will not lose the bad reputation which the 'Schlecker scandal' has given it unless the employer associations distance themselves from in-house temporary employment agencies altogether by excluding them from industry association membership. Tacit tolerance is regarded as active support.
To read a list of in-house temporary employment agencies please click here