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Germany – Staffing industry planning further wage increases

16 July 2012

After politicians have been urging the temporary staffing industry to increase pay for agency workers, employer associations have announced further plans to close the pay gap between temporary and permanent workers.

Thomas Bäumer, the head of the negotiation association of the temporary staffing industry (VGZ) told the German newspaper Handelsblatt that there could be a dozen new agreements in the coming months.

“I assume that old conflicts about the pay of agency workers will be settled from the unions’ point of view,” Mr Bäumer said. He also said that there was “really no further need” to implement regulations which would deal with the pay differences. Talks are planned with the services union ver.di, the railway and transport industries, as well as the food, beverages and catering industry. Further negotiations will be launched with the textile, wood and plastic industries, he said.

The German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen is holding talks today with employers and unions to evaluate the situation. Ms von der Leyen has been warning the bargaining parties to  raise pay rates for agency workers and was threatening with legal regulations should the parties come to no agreement.

Following her tough words earlier this year, several major industries are now going to increase pay rates for contingent workers in a drive to adjust the pay gap between temporary and permanent staff. Both the metal/electrical and chemical industries are going to introduce higher surcharges for agency workers from November this year, with temporary staff benefitting from higher salaries of up to +50%.  

But unions in the country, including the prominent IG Metall, are still demanding more and have over the weekend lobbied for more equality between temporary and permanent workers. 

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