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Migrant Workers in Germany

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Migrant workers in Germany are as routinely exploited as they are in the United States.

Migrant workers in Germany’s construction industry are increasingly faced with abusive practices of this kind.

In March 2014, the German union representing construction workers, Industriegewerkschaft Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG-BAU), took on a similar case, defending 50 building workers in Frankfurt who had not been paid for months. The company was finally forced to pay the €100,000 (US$106,230) in wage arrears.

“More and more construction and public works companies are turning to labour subcontractors. As a result, a whole host of firms has sprung up specialising in the supply of cheap labour for construction projects,” explains Frank Schmidt-Hullmann, head of migrant workers’ affairs with IG-BAU.

“They are not genuine construction firms. They look like it on paper, but their only activity is, in fact, to supply labour at a low cost. They are brass plate companies that often only pay wages for the first few months. They then stop paying and expect the workers to keep going until the job is finished, in the hopes that they will be paid at the end of the contract.

“We are constantly coming across situations like this. And we only know about the cases that are presented to a union. It’s the tip of the iceberg.”

Most of the migrant workers in this situation are employed under the status of EU posted workers.

What a surprise that subcontracting is responsible for this rise in exploitation. It’s almost like other nations are looking at the new forms of corporations exploiting labor developing in the United States and learning from it! Glad to see the global influence of our corporate masters leading to a global Gilded Age.

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  • dp

    I swear, I think subcontracting should be outlawed entirely.

    • Yep. Or at the very least, the corporation doing the subcontracting should be held legally responsible for everything the subcontractor does.

  • Nobdy

    Jail.

    We need to stop just fining companies that make illegal exploitation a routine part of their business practices. If you set out to intentionally defraud workers you should go to jail, just as (some) other thieves do. There should also be large fines, and complete disgorgements of profit and salary for the people who run these companies.

    These days WAY too many companies price getting caught and getting fined as a lower cost than complying with the law. When that’s the case, the law loses its ability to deter. You know what would still have the ability to deter? Letting these scumbags watch their kids grow up through postcards and every two month visits. People who intentionally commit these acts, or seriously pollute against regulations, or intentionally or negligently shirk safety regulations should go. to. jail.

    • los

      But, but, but, FREEDOMS!
      You Liberal Nazi! Your laws violate the Religious Rites of the CEOs’ Collective Corporate Personhood.
      Our laws are Freedom.
      http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/04/labels/comment-page-1#comment-1456611

      • John Revolta

        Yes, exactly right. After all, if a company exploits and abuses its workers, customers will stop supporting that company. The Invisible Hand will not be mocked!

    • DrDick

      Absolutely. We need to hold the executives personally responsible, since they made the decisions.

  • postmodulator

    I’m a little unhappy living in a world where Germans learn to oppress people by watching what the United States does.

    • Nobdy

      Mistreatment of guest workers is hardly a uniquely American phenomenon, and we’re not even the best in the world at it. Look at the oil rich arab states if you want to see it practiced at its highest level, but it happens just about everywhere.

      Humans, y’know. Effin humans.

  • los

    The Koch brothers return to the Fatherland.

  • DrDick

    Come now, Erik. We all know the every capitalist in the world understands that when you own plebes start getting all uppity and demanding decent pay and working conditions, you start importing butt loads of desperate foreign workers who do not know any better and have no legal recourse.

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