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The systematic avoidance to pay sector-negotiated minimum salaries by some major German corporations is still causing great controversy in the country, Frankfurter Rundschau reports.
Drugstore chain Schlecker stands accused of hiring temporary staff via their in-house temporary staffing agency Meniar, thereby avoiding minimum salaries paid in the sector. Temporary staffing is regarded as its own sector, which has to negotiate its own minimum salaries.
On 14 December 2009 Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (previously in government, now in opposition) wrote to company owner Anton Schlecker to ask for an explanation. He said "when the Social Democrats were in power, we facilitated temporary employment but it was not our aim to encourage abuse of the system". So far there has been no response from Herr Schlecker.
Social Democrat MP Rene Roespel has accused Schlecker of "an unacceptable strategy."
A spokesperson from Schlecker's competitor Rossmann told Frankfurter Rundschau "we have no intentions of paying people less than the minimum salary by hiring temporary employees. We pay the minimum salary and that is it."