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Germany – Staffing industry accused of cheap tricks

19 December 2012

A trade union in Germany has accused staffing firms of “cheap tricks” to evade paying higher pay rates to agency workers in the metal and electrical industry, one of the most important sectors for temporary staffing companies in the country.

Over six weeks have passed since a new collective agreement has introduced pay increases in the sector. But the IG Metall union claimed on Tuesday that the new rules had been largely ignored and agency workers had not received their pay rises yet.

A survey conducted by staff associations in four federal states – including Hesse, Rhineland-Palatine, Thuringia, and Saarland – has found that 30% of the 40,000 temporary agency workers had not received the surcharge they are entitled to, the union claims.

Union representative Armin Schild found harsh words of criticism. He accused employers of “abuse” and “fraud”. A large number of the 12,000 staffing firms in the region would duck pay, he claimed, by pressurising agency workers and assigning them tasks in different industries where surcharges do not apply.

Representatives of the staffing industry have denied the allegations and classified them as “fairy tale” fabrications.

Werner Stolz of the staffing association iGZ said: “We decisively deny the sweeping accusations by the union.” The allegations, he said, border on defamation. Agency workers can also refer to a conciliation body should they wish to make a complaint, he said.

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