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Employment Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, is determined that the temporary employment sector in Germany should resolve the issues it is currently facing without government intervention but she is prepared to intervene as a measure of last resort.
Von der Leyen told German daily Die Welt "I hope that employees and unions can negotiate water-tight sector-wide agreements. Two things matter to me, in particular: the minimum salary and how to avoid the practice of sacking permanent employees and re-employing them as temporary employees at very much worse conditions."
"Both issues can be resolved by collective bargaining. This has worked very well in the care sector where there will now be a [sector specific] minimum salary."
On the question of whether she wants to impose a minimum salary on the temporary employment sector, the Minister said "I hope that the temporary employment sector can agree on a minimum salary this Summer. From May 2011 onwards we will have free movement of labour with the Eastern countries of the European Union and temporary employees [from these countries] will be able to flood the German market with minimum salaries of 3 Euro or 4 Euro per hour."
"If the temporary employment industry cannot find a solution by itself, the Legislative will have to get involved. That would be the second best solution because a law can never be as much of a perfect fit as an industry negotiated collective agreement."
The Minister concludes "what matters to me is that the temporary employment sector is not destroyed. Many temporary employees were unemployed prior to their temporary employment contracts. Without temporary employment these people would not stand a chance in the labour market."