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Germany – Staffing association criticises Government over plans to tighten regulations

15 June 2012

Harsh words against the Federal and State Government were heard at yesterday’s general meeting of the German association of employment agencies (BAP) in which the president criticised politicians in the country over their plans to further tighten regulations in the staffing industry.

Volker Enkerts, president of the BAP, said that the temporary staffing industry in Germany was doing “well” and indeed, unlike many other European countries, the number of temporary agency workers in the country increased to 850,000 as the latest figures of March show.

Demand for agency workers is still high and Mr Enkerts pointed out that 30,000 vacancies currently remain unfilled as the skills shortage continues to haunt the labour market. “Obviously many politicians therefore believe that they do no longer need the job generator that is temporary employment,” he said.

Politicians within the ruling coalition Government have expressed plans to implement further legal regulations for the temporary labour market. Most prominently, Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been urging the staffing industry to implement equal pay across its sectors. This comes after a pivotal collective agreement with the metal and electrical industry in May has increased pay rates for agency workers by up to +50%.

Mr Enkerts condemned the Labour Minister for continuing to put pressure on the temporary staffing industry. “Despite extensive collective bargaining agreements – which see enormous pay increases for temporary employees – she is threatening to introduce commissions, which oust the collective bargaining and produce higher unemployment rates.” He said that particularly low-skilled workers and the long-term unemployed would be affected by this policy.

He also maintained that the temporary staffing industry is providing better employment conditions than the overall labour market, urging politicians to recognise the “natural” part it plays in the economy.

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