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Germany – Pay gap for agency staff closing

13 July 2012

The negotiations are not over yet as politicians continue to press for higher wages for agency workers in Germany, after several unions have this year announced increased pay rates for contingent workers to adjust pay differences between temporary and permanent staff.

This has sparked worries that temporary staffing will become more expensive and hit particularly low qualified workers. But the railway and transport union (EVG), part of the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB), yesterday agreed with the negotiation association of the temporary staffing industry (VGZ) to launch bargaining talks in August this year. The bargaining parties said the talks were “constructive”.

This follows two major collective agreements already negotiated this year with the metal/electrical and  chemical industries. Both industries are going to introduce higher surcharges for agency workers to close the pay gap between permanent and temporary workers. These agreements will serve as a guideline, aimed to be adopted across all members of the DGB.

But after the negotiations with the metal industry were concluded, head of the VGZ, Thomas Bäumer, warned that “staffing firms have gone to the limits of their capacity. The additional charges for client companies will be grave. Unfortunately this will have a negative impact on the labour market, particularly for unskilled workers.”

Under the new agreement for the metal industry, temporary workers will see a surcharge of 15% after working in one company for six weeks. This will continuously rise – after three months, the surcharge will increase to 20%, then to 30% after five months, to 45% after seven months, eventually reaching 50% after a nine-month period of employment in one company.

One of Germany’s largest trade unions, the United Services Union (ver.di), also announced this week that it will enter negotiations with the temporary staffing industry in August to increase pay rates for agency workers. 

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