Ver.di and Randstad agreed on pay increases
In April 2001, Germany's Unified Service Sector Union (ver.di) and the Randstad temporary employment agency agreed on pay increases for about 21,000 Randstad employees working in various companies. The parties hope that the settlement might set an example for the whole temporary agency work sector.
On 24 April 2001, the newly-created Unified Service Sector Union (Vereinigte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, ver.di) (DE0104220F) concluded an agreement with the temporary employment agency Randstad Deutschland GmbH on pay increases for about 21,000 of the latter's employees working in various companies. The agreement provides that:
- from May 2001, salaried employees and blue-collar workers working for external clients will receive a pay increase of at least 3%. Employees in highly-qualified professions will receive pay increases of between 6% and 8%, while the wages for unskilled workers will increase by 15%; and
- in connection with the changeover from the Deutschmark to the euro (euro notes and coins are to be introduced from 1 January 2002), all pay rates will be increased by 0.5% from October 2001.
Both parties emphasised that the wage settlement sets a good example for the whole temporary agency work sector. According to ver.di, there are still temporary agencies with minimum wages below DEM 10 per hour and not paying any social security contributions. Ver.di is putting pressure on other agencies to conclude collective agreements, arguing that temporary agency work helps to fight unemployment, but that it needs regulated employment conditions.
Randstad, the leading company in this sector, introduced a company agreement which regulates working conditions for its employees some years ago. This was followed by a three-year collective agreement, concluded in April 2000 with two of ver.di's constituent unions - the German White-Collar Union (Deutsche Angestellten Gewerkschaft, DAG) and Public Services, Transport and Traffic Union (Gewerkschaft Öffentliche Dienste, Transport und Verkehr, ÖTV). This agreement contains provisions concerning monthly working time, overtime pay, holidays, the bonus system and periods of notice.
As German unions criticise temporary agency work in principle (DE9711138F), at first sight the fact that they have concluded a collective agreement with a temporary work agency seems to be inconsistent. However, in the case of Randstad, DAG and ÖTV argued at the time that the agreement might set a good example for the whole sector, as the agreed terms and conditions are above the average. Further, the bargaining parties expected that it might be possible in future to agree a sectoral agreement with the Temporary Work Federation (Bundesverband Zeitarbeit), and that the resulting agreed terms and conditions might then help to prevent companies from replacing normal employment with temporary agency work.