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New Case from the metro

A punch to the world’s biggest employment agency
Rumænske metroarbejdere med banner der kræver ligeløn for alle - skrevet på rumænsk
Rumænske metroarbejdere med banner der kræver ligeløn for alle - skrevet på rumænsk

Polish workers and BJMF win case over the Adecco employment agency giant. 

(Borrowed from the 3F magazine) 

‘Better work, better life’. That is the world’s biggest employment agency’s slogan. 

But for two Polish temps there was absolutely no time to have a life next to the work for the employment giant. 

In a new case from the construction of the metro the arbitration tribunal has settled, that Adecco must pay 110.000 dkr. to the two temps, who have worked to an extent that is entirely outside the terms of agreement of working hours. 

- They have had some completely outrageous working hours and have been tossed between different employers on the metro. They have had double shifts, weekend shifts and have never knew when or how long the next shift would be, Silas Grage, professional secretary in BJMF Copenhagen, says.

Changed workplace 65 times in a year

One of the two Polish temps needs to get paid 80.000 dkr.. He worked as a crane operator and during 2016 he was no less than 65 times send to different employers and construction sites on the metro. 

In a period of time he worked 16 hours a day and on several occasions he worked 15 days with changing hours - evening, night and day - before he had time off. 

- Off course it offers an employment agency a huge advantage if they can push people like this. But in today’s Denmark wage earners should not be treated as day laborers without rights. It is a serious underpinning of the labor market and Adecco contributes to a race to the bottom, Silas Grage, professional secretary, says. 

Completely outside the scope of the union’s agreement

The employment agency Adecco service among others Copenhagen Metro Team’s (CMT) main contractor with labor. CMT have 21 different construction sites on the metro projekt - all with different working hours. 

In 2015 and 2016 Adecco send out around 500 temporary workers to CMT to work on the metro. 

In the case from the arbitration judge Børge Dahl notes that the to Polish workers have been offered some working conditions that are completely outside the scope of the union’s agreement. 

- There are to many deviations in relation to the agreement’s provision on organization of the work, change and termination, which do not have the necessary background in the terms of the agreement about working hours, it says in the verdict.

It is among other the provision on shift work and warning of working hours that has been the center of the case. 

Adecco recognizes responsibility 

Mickey Maymann, CEO Adecco Denmark, agrees that the agreement has been broken and that the two temporary workers have been working too much. He recognizes that it is Adecco’s responsibility to make sure the rules are being followed, even though they have sended the temporary workers forward to CMT and the subcontractors on the metro.

- It is our main responsibility that the working hours rules are being followed and we haven’t been good enough to follow up on the control. Therefore we have introduced a new system to secure a better planning of the temporary workers’ working hours. 

- What do you think about the work life the two Polish workers have had on the metro working double shifts and constantly changing employers? 

- It is not appropriate to work so much. But they have not been forced. They have agreed to take overtime and have made a pretty good salary. 

- I don’t think they have been cheated on payrolls, says Mikey Maymann. 

That is a truth with modifications according to professional secretary Silas Grage. 

- It is true, that the two temporary workers have been paid for all their hours, but there are some clear rules on overtime payment that have not been followed. Otherwise Adecco wouldn’t be forced to postpay the salary, he says. 

It can be an expensive case

The arbitration tribunal between 3F BJMF and Adecco ended in a settlement. The two Polish workers get respectively 80.00 and 30.000 dkr. in postpayment. 3F BJMF are planning on conducting a large number of similar cases from the metro against Adecco and take them to the Labor Court. If the Labor Court finds Adecco guilty it can be a very expensive pleasure for Adecco according to Silas Grage. 

- Our demand might end up in tens of millions dollars, he says.