Fake temp work.

Apparently Germany has a supreme court for labor law, the Bundesarbeitsgericht, located in Erfurt.

On 10 Dec 2013 the labor court judges announced a detailed verdict in a temp work dispute that basically said, ARD said, it’s time for the legislature to pass certain laws. “It’s the legislature’s turn.”

At issue was clarifying a 1972 temp work law, the Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz, AÜG, whose current version apparently does not adequately define punishments for violations of itself and uses nonspecific language: “Die Überlassung von Arbeitnehmern an Entleiher erfolgt vorübergehend.” [The seconding of employees to hirers is done temporarily.] When the AÜG was passed in 1972, it limited temp work to max. 3 months; that limit was raised several times until it reached 24 months in 2002, was eliminated entirely in 2003, and was re-introduced as the word “temporary,” vorübergehend, in 2011. The current draft agreement negotiated for a possible post-election C.D.U./C.S.U. + S.P.D. grosse Koalition government contains a promise to reset the maximum temping limit to ≤18 months, ZDF heute journal’s Simone Friedrich said in her brief history of the relevant law.

Three years was how long the case’s plaintiff, an I.T. specialist, had been temping at a hospital. His workplace was operated by a company that ran multiple hospitals and had created its own temp agency to staff them with several hundred workers receiving significantly less than union-negotiated wages, according to ZDF heute journal. Yet the labor court had to find that punishments not codified in the current laws were not codified in the current laws.

“As disappointing as this verdict may be for the plaintiff, the judges also made clear that temp work can only be legally limited by the lawgiver [legislatures]. And the legislatures are who must craft the regulations stating what sanctions will apply to hirers that don’t follow these rules.” –ARD correspondent Matthias Koch

The Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund association of unions said the corrective legislation should not only limit the maximum time for temp work but also mandate that temp workers receive the same wages as regular workers.

Reporting on the verdict made charming use of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rather impressive statement when she addressed a meeting of the German employers’ association on 19 Nov 2013:

“Unfortunately, in the German economy, we have seen it happen again and again that from every flexibilization an abuse arises. […] And the more often that sort of thing happens, the greater the danger that everything will be reregulated again.”

ZDF correspondent Simone Friedrich said Germany had 20,000 temp workers in 1982 and 822,000 in 2012.

(SHINE LIE ah bite.)

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