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Germany – Wages raised for temporary workers but union wants more

10 August 2012

Ahead of important bargaining talks between unions and the temporary staffing industry, the railway and transport industry has negotiated higher pay rates for agency workers, the association of German staffing firms announced today.

The collective agreement will increase pay in stages by up to +14% from 1 April 2013 for a four-year period, following ground-breaking agreements achieved in the metal and electrical industry earlier this year.

The higher pay will be calculated based on the time agency staff work in one company, starting from six weeks onwards, something which has been criticised in the past. Opponents argue that temporary workers may not work long enough at one firm to benefit from the wage increases.

The German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen has pushed for equal pay in the temporary staffing industry and will review the progress in November to see if federal laws are still needed to improve salaries for agency staff.

With the introduction of higher pay rates “we have set a clear sign that proper wage adjustment for temporary employees has priority” said Holger Piening of the employer organisation in the temporary staffing industry (VGZ).

VGZ is planning further talks with unions to raise salaries for temporary workers. One of Germany’s largest trade union, the United Services Union ver.di, will commence discussions on 20 August. These are likely to focus on increasing pay in the print and healthcare sector, but could possibly include the retail and logistics industries also.  

Ver.di has been critical of previous equal pay agreements, saying it wanted agency workers to receive higher pay before the six-week period kicks in as staff are only then entitled to higher pay. 

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