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Germany – Staffing firms protest against stricter regulations

07 May 2013

Opposition parties in Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat, have filed a proposal to demand improved equal pay conditions in the staffing industry. The social democrats and the green party want to impose stricter regulations in the sector.

This includes restricting the use of temporary agency workers to its “original” purpose, namely to cover for peaks in production and to temporarily substitute permanent staff. The proposal also calls on the government to introduce equal pay in the staffing industry.

The parties criticised that companies are increasingly making use of temporary staff to fill permanent positions.  They also complained that recent bargaining agreements may have increased surcharges for agency workers, but this did not close the pay gap between temporary and permanent staff.

Employers have dismissed the proposal which would cover seven federal states governed by the parties. Werner Stolz from the German federation of staffing firms (iGZ) said the proposal undermines the autonomy of collective bargaining.

He said the parties completely ignored the recent pay agreements in the industry which have raised wages for agency workers and said further actions were not needed. According to Mr Stolz, the proposal also fails to acknowledge economic facts and puts the German economic and labour market at risk.

The employer’s association in the metal industry (Gesamtmetall) also criticised the proposal. Oliver Zander from the organisation said that agency workers in the metal and electrical industry have seen their pay rise significantly in the past few months.  

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