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Germany — Employer association calls for minimum salary

19 May 2010

Martin Kannegiesser, the President of the Employer Association of the metal industry (Gesamtmetall), told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview that he understands the need for a minimum salary in the temporary employment industry.

Kannegiesser said "when the [temporary employment] labour market opens up to Eastern European temporary employees in 2011 we will need a minimum salary for the industry. Otherwise, the pressures on pay will become too great."

Germany does not have a minimum salary as such. Minimum salaries are negotiated sector by sector via collective bargaining between unions and employer associations. 95% of the 650,000 temporary employees are now covered by recently negotiated minimum salary agreements but these will only apply to temporary employees from outside of Germany if the government declares the agreements as 'nationally binding' (allgemeinverbindlich).

Polish and Czech temporary employment agencies are rumoured to be preparing themselves for the opening up of the labour market in May 2011 with hourly wages of as low as 4 Euro.

However, Kannegiesser is nervous about too much regulation for temporary employment. Employment Minister Ursula von der Leyen has ordered that her Ministry evaluates how the recent abuses of loopholes in temporary employment regulation where permanent staff was systematically replaced by temporary employees hired via in-house temporary employment agencies at far lower pay (Schlecker scandal) can be avoided.

Kannegiesser added "it is always a good thing to get rid of abuse but the Ministry for Employment should limit its actions to real cases of abuse [and not introduce too much new red tape]."



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