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The abuse of temporary employment legislation by Europe's largest drugstore chain Schlecker with the aim of cutting former employees' salaries in half by re-employing them via an in-house staffing agency has created suspicion against temporary employment altogether in Germany.
The Federal Minister for Labour, Ursula von der Leyen (Conservative), has now ordered an investigation of the industry by her Ministry and has alluded to the fact that the government might have to put "better regulation in place in order to avoid abuse."
Von der Leyen said "I will not allow that the reputation of the fundamentally good and sensible concept of temporary employment will be destroyed by an abuse of the system."
German daily Die Welt says in its leading article today "the German labour market has become more flexible thanks to government reforms over the last few yearsâ€¦New jobs have been created, which would not exist with our rigid laws against staff dismissalâ€¦Those who want to turn back the wheel on temporary employment will take away opportunities for people who want to enter the labour market."
"The unions are now using the 'Schlecker case' in order to ask for more regulation in temporary employment. That is exactly the wrong way if you want to get people back into work."
Chancellor Angela Merkel (Conservative) has defended temporary employment. She said "we are going to be cautious on [new regulation for] temporary employment, which acts as buffer zone for the labour market. To abolish it does in my view not get us anywhere. It is the wrong thing to do."