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Germany – Employers lack “morals” when using agency workers

21 January 2013

The president of the German Association of Employers (BDA) said that some companies show a lack of “morals and decency” when it comes to using temporary agency workers. In an interview with Die Welt am Sonntag, Dieter Hundt accused some employers of using temporary staffing services to merely cut costs.

He said this was a negative development, impacting the reputation of staffing companies in the country. Because of the widely publicised Schlecker scandal, in which a major drugstore chain sacked their staff only to re-employ them as temporary workers at half the costs, the image of staffing firms had been tainted, he said.

Although Mr Hundt is overall a supporter of temporary labour, he warned companies not to exploit the use of agency staff. “I have, right from the beginning, supported temporary staffing as a tool of flexibility. However, I have also said from the outset that temporary staffing must not be an instrument to lower labour costs.”

The BDA president asked members to stick to the new collective bargaining agreements which aim to close the pay gap between temporary and permanent staff. This comes after some unions in Germany last month accused employers of “cheap tricks” to duck the higher pay rates. 

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