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Germany – Staffing firms want to have their say in collective bargaining

25 June 2012

The temporary staffing industry in Germany should lead collective bargaining rounds on equal pay as staffing firms dismissed statutory regulations on the issue, the latest SME barometer by the association of employment agencies, iGZ, found.

This comes after the Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen had pressurised the industry on increasing pay rates for temporary workers, threatening that the State will intervene if negotiations with trade unions should fail.

But according to the survey, 90% of staffing firms in Germany said that the collective bargaining parties in the temporary staffing sector should regulate the equal-pay negotiations while only 8.8% believed the German Parliament should control the matter.

General Manager at the iGZ, Werner Stolz, said that member firms therefore clearly agreed with the wage adjustment of temporary workers that has been led by the bargaining party and resulted in recent pay increases for workers in the metal and electrical industry as well as the chemical sector.

The survey also revealed that the job market for temporary employees was stable in the first quarter of the year as 89% of temporary workers were employed on a full-time basis. It showed that around 68% of employees already earn more than the average than agreed in collective bargaining while the temp-to-perm conversion rate reached 33% in the first quarter. Staffing firms are also optimistic about the coming months with 57% expecting a positive outlook while a third predict things will remain the same. Only 10% believe that the economic situation of their companies will worsen in the next few months.

The survey also does away with stereotypical images of the industry as critics of temporary labour often argue that the use of a contingent workforce replaces permanent employment. But almost 90% of staffing buyers use a maximum of 10 temporary workers in their companies, something which contradicts such claims.

Looking at the profiles of temporary workers, the research indicates that 59% possess a recognised professional education while 26% are unskilled workers without qualifications. 

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