Cross-Border Labour Market-Making in Germany and the Netherlands: Brokering Mobility to Evade Protections?

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW2.1.02 (Tower Two)
Hannelore Mottweiler, University Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany
Markus Tuente, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany
Germany and the Netherlands have become major destination countries for cross-border labour, especially from Poland, but also increasingly from Southern Europe on the wake of economic crises and as young workers in particular search for better employment opportunities abroad. Much of this labour is in the form of posting or migration of temporary staff, intermediated by temporary staffing firms with dense networks of subsidiaries in both sending and receiving countries. The temporary staffing industry often depicts itself as solving unemployment and providing opportunities, but often workers are placed in precarious and unprotected employment situations, which increase inequalities in employment conditions in some of the best protected and most regulated destination labor markets. This paper examines, from the perspective of the receiving countries, the ways in which the transposition of the EU 2008 temporary agency work directive into national regulations in Germany and the Netherlands are facilitating the establishment of a cross-border labour market for temporary labour. An important dimension regards the role of trade unions and social partnership in negotiating new sets of rules and practices shaping the demand and use of cross-border temporary staff. In particular we examine the role of collective bargaining in addressing inequalities in working conditions in destination countries. The paper presents several patterns of cross-border placements, their regulation, but also their evasion, for example through new types of brokering activities, which evade the necessity for employment contracts in destination countries like Germany and the Netherlands.