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Temporary work: Modern slavery or economic opportunity?


According to the German Federal Employment Agency, temporary employment has increased steadily in the past few years in Germany with over 900,000 contractors employed in 2012. Compared to other European countries, Germany has an above average number of contractors. Germany1 Temporary employment has been incredibly important in helping Germany get through the economic downturn in 2009, as companies were able to be flexible in meeting production demands quickly by reducing payrolls. So why is it, that payroll and temporary work are considered to be such “dirty words” in Germany? One of the main reasons is clearly the industry’s connotation of poorly paid and poorly treated employees. Recent scandals in the automobile and online retail industry have supported this image. Contractors are being paid lower wages for the exact same labour carried out by permanent staff. Wolfgang Dick from Deutsche Welle has written an interesting article (“Temp labor: modern slaves, or economic heroes?” http://www.dw.de/temp-labor-modern-slaves-or-economic-heroes/a-16656289) pointing out that “a large share of all jobs for temporary workers are in areas where no special qualification is needed […and] many are treated with little respect.” This is quite important to point out because a higher number of temp workers are actually employed in highly qualified jobs earning decent salaries based on the BZA collective wage agreement. Temporary work can be a great opportunity to experience work in different companies and in some instances (25% of all employees) receive a permanent position through a temporary job. Temp work has still a long way to go in Germany but TCP are already collaborating on improving the industry’s image by placing qualified contractors in a compliant way following the BZA regulations (Federal Association of Temporary Personnel Services) and through our indefinite AUG licence.