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Germany – PSW goes bust

26 September 2012

Although recruitment agencies consider Germany to currently have a more favourable staffing market than some of its European neighbours, the staffing firm Personal Service Wunder (PSW) has not been able to keep up with business and has filed for bankruptcy.

PSW, a member of Germany’s federation of staffing firms, employs around 1,200 people some of whom have not received their wages since August.

The insolvency administrator, Paul Wieschemann, has not commented on why the firm has gone bust. “It is dubious to speak about this at such an early stage of the process,” said Mr Wieschemann.

He has denied claims that the firm has had to file for bankruptcy because of an illegal collective agreement, which allowed staffing firms to pay temporary workers far lower salaries and social contributions.

In May this year, the Federal Labour Court clarified that this so-called CGZP agreement had always lacked bargaining capacity, with staffing firms now expected to pay back some of the outstanding wages and social contributions.

Over 3,200 investigations have since been launched to determine which firms have to make such retrospective payments.

This has led to speculations that some staffing firms represented with high bills will not be able to cope financially and be forced out of business.

“PSW is not affected by this, they have always paid appropriate wages,” said Mr Wieschemann.

PSW is based in Kaiserslautern and has 26 offices across the country, some of which have been shut down already. 

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