Labour Research January 2016

European news

Agency workers

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel has intervened to force a revision of planned rules on agency workers and service contracts. Unions have been concerned for some time that employers were using these to introduce a two-tier workforce into German plants, with service contracts in particular being misused. 

Legislation to regulate their use was proposed by the German labour minister Andrea Nahles, and although unions were concerned that it did not go far enough, it was felt to be a useful initial step. 

However, speaking to a meeting of employers at the end of November, Merkel promised that the measure would be reconsidered. She said that the proposals coming from Nahles (a minster from the social democratic SPD) went beyond what had been agreed in the coalition agreement between the SPD and her party (the centre-right CDU).