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Germany – Union wants stricter law on temporary staffing

04 December 2012

The trade union for the chemical industries, IG BCE, has demanded codetermination rights on how many agency workers companies can use. It said that works councils should have a mandatory right to determine the ratio of agency staff working in user companies.

The union has earlier this year negotiated a pay rise for temporary workers to implement equal pay agreements in the industry. But Michael Vassiliadis, head of the IG BCE, claimed last night that some staffing firms do not abide by the rules, following recent claims by another union which accused some agencies of dodging new surcharges.

Mr Vassiliadis also said that agency workers are no longer hired to cover for peak periods and are mainly used to lower costs. “That is why we demand a legal clarification, saying that unjustified use of agency workers has nothing to do with proper flexibility,” he said.

He has called on the government to take action after the opposition party SPD has reiterated some support for expanding such rights of codetermination.

The union claims that a third of companies in the chemical sector are using agency workers who tend to make up between 4% and 5% of the total workforce in firms.

The IG BCE wants to involve the confederation of German trade unions to trigger a political debate on the issue. The IG Metall union, which represents workers in the metal and electrical industry, has also lobbied to achieve a codetermination right, but failed to achieve any results earlier this year.  

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