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Netherlands – German recruiter fined €30,000 for breaching collective agreement

05 October 2012

A German staffing firm operating in the Netherlands was ordered to pay €30,000 to a temporary worker for having breached a collective agreement and underpaying the employee, a Dutch court ruled on Wednesday.

The worker, a Polish national, was employed by the German recruiter Friesenpersoneel to carry out work in the meat industry near Groningen, Northern Holland. There, he was employed from 2005 and 2010 and subject to receiving pay according to a Dutch sectoral collective bargaining agreement.

In 2009 the FNV, one of the Netherland’s largest trade union federations, carried out an investigation at the client firm where the worker had been posted. It found that the temporary employee did not receive the wages he was entitled to and started taking legal action.

On 3 October 2012, a court in Groningen ruled that the German staffing company did not comply with Dutch regulations and had broken the local collective agreement. It said that any foreign company operating in the Netherlands has to follow rules laid out in such agreements.

The court also condemned the staffing company which had avoided paying the worker appropriate wages by operating under a separate company named Friesenfleisch.

“We can see that our actions taken since December 2009 have been rewarded. The Dutch collective agreement must be followed, regardless of the nationality of the worker and regardless of the location of the staffing agency,” said Janwillem Compaijen of the FNV union.

Friesenpersoneel is located in Cloppenburg, Northeastern Germany. The firm only had one client company in the Netherlands, the meat processor Beusmeat, based in Leek. In 2010, the firm hired around 100 Polish workers from the Germany agency. The FNV said that other workers posted there by Friesenpersoneel had made the same claims regarding pay.  

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