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Chancellor (Prime Minister) Angela Merkel's Cabinet has yesterday signed off the proposal presented by Employment Minister Ursula von der Leyen to declare the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between unions and the Association of Temporary Employment Agencies (BAP, previously BZA and AMP) as legally binding for all staffing agencies who operate in the country, whether they have offices in Germany or not.
From 1 January 2012 onwards, the minimum wage for all agency temporary employees will therefore be 7.01 Euro per hour in the Eastern Federal States and 7.89 Euro in the Western Federal States of the country.
From 1 November 2012 onwards, the minimum wage for all agency temporary employees will rise to 7.50 Euro per hour in the Eastern Federal States and 8.19 Euro in the Western Federal States.
New rises in the minimum wage for the period after 31 October 2013 are still to be negotiated.
Minister von der Leyen has also called on the unions and BAP to agree on the duration of a transition period, after which agency temporary employees will receive 'equal pay for equal work'. This could be, say, a period of 12 weeks with the same final employer after which 'equal pay for equal work' applies. So far, the social partners have not been able to agree on the duration of the transition period.
The Minister made it clear that if no agreement can be reached between the social partners, a committee of experts will be given the task of coming up with proposals.
However, not everybody in the country agrees with the different treatment workers in the old Western Federal States receive when compared with the treatment of workers in the new Eastern Federal States.
Martin Dulig, Member of the Social Democrat opposition (SDP), in the Eastern regional parliament of Saxony, commented to Bild Zeitung newspaper "it is inconceivable that 20 years after German re-unification there are still different legally binding pay levels for Eastern Germany and Western Germany."
Dulig demands a nationally binding minimum wage across the whole of Germany of 8.50 Euro per hour.
To read the government's statement, in German language, please click here