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There has been a heated debate in Germany over new premium rates that will increase pay for temporary agency workers next month. The IG Metall union said that 200,000 agency workers in the metal and electrical industry will be entitled to a +15% wage increase when the collective agreement will come into force on 1 November 2012.
“We have improved the situation for temporary and permanent workers enormously,” said Helga Schwitzer, board member at the union. She said that staffing firms and their client companies now have to prove themselves as “serious bargaining partners.”
The union is not “at peace” with the temporary staffing industry. “Politicians are required to put an end to malpractices in the staffing industry. They are required to restructure the labour market in a novel and social way. We will continue to put pressure on this,” she warned.
The union is calling for national legislation on equal pay requirements for temporary workers although the German labour minister has so far not announced plans to do so.
The federation of temporary staffing industries (BAP) warned that the recruitment market should not be overregulated. Vice president of the organisation, Thomas Bäumer, said that the German autonomy in wage bargaining is working well.
“Politicians must not overdo regulations because the current economic development shows that demand for flexible labour market tools is high,” he said.
He criticised the union for continuously branding agency workers as second-class employees. “Almost 100% of agency workers have a collective agreement and 95% are liable for social insurance contributions,” said Mr Bäumer.