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Netherlands – Staffing firms use legal loopholes

15 January 2013

The Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Lodewijk Asscher, has been urged to act quickly in order to crack down on sham arrangements in the staffing industry which allow firms to underpay Polish migrant workers.

It has been revealed this week that at least two Netherlands-based staffing agencies operating in Poland use legal loopholes to bring “cheap” workers from Poland into the country. The workers, who are hired to pick fruit and vegetables in the Netherlands, are paid lower wages.

A local council official in Westland came forward with the claims on Monday. Arne Weverling said that the practice leads to unfair competition in the labour market. “The staffing companies which use this cause inequality in the staffing industry and the Dutch labour market,” he said.

“The labour migrants are paid according to Polish standards – which means they get around €500 a month,” he said. In the Netherlands the workers also receive an additional €1,000 in so-called expenses, which results in them just about reaching minimum wage level.

Mr Weverling said this was a “national problem.” He urged the Employment Minister to close the loophole at European level.

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