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Germany – Union attacks staffing industry

08 October 2012

One of Germany’s largest trade union IG Metall, representing workers in the metal and electrical industries, last week protested against temporary work following the ‘World Day for Decent Work’ on 7 October which called for an end to “precarious” labour.

The union harshly criticised the use of agency work, contract labour, outsourcing and unpaid internships, as well as fixed-term employment. It claimed that such types of employment split the labour market and lead to unfair working conditions and wage dumping.

“We must fight this mess in the job market, which leads to a rapid expansion of the low-pay sector,” argued Detlef Wetzel, second chairman of the union.

The union called for stricter regulation to “put an end” to so-called precarious work which it believes has been on the rise in all parts of the country.

The staffing association IGZ said the arguments put forward by the union were “not comprehensible.” It accused the union of painting a distorted picture of the temporary staffing industry, which it said helps to create jobs and increases workforce flexibility.

At the same time the Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Ciett) called for “appropriate” regulation in the industry to fight illegal work and rogue operators.

“The private employment services industry is steadfast in its support of decent work. I call on governments and trade unions to work with Ciett in order to achieve regulation that is balanced; with guaranteed protection for workers on one hand, and the freedom for employers to provide a full range of services on the other, said Ciett managing director Denis Pennel.

“This will enable private employment services to bring people into the formal labour market and fight rogue traders who operate without the protection of workers in mind.”


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