Germany: Cabinet backs draft law combatting poor working conditions in parcel delivery sector

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Article
18 September 2019

Germany backs draft law to protect parcel delivery drivers

Author: Emma Thomasson, Reuters

The German cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday to force logistics and ecommerce companies that outsource deliveries to ensure that their subcontractors pay proper social security contributions for their drivers.

The legislation was proposed after police launched nationwide raids on subcontracting delivery firms in February and uncovered numerous cases of social security fraud and drivers working off the books...

Labour lawyers say the new rules are likely to push up costs for those logistics and ecommerce companies... 

Most logistics companies in Germany use subcontractors, including Amazon, which is now also expanding its own delivery network.

Bernd Gschaider, Germany director for Amazon Logistics, told Reuters [...] the proposed legislation would not have any impact on Amazon’s business because it already demanded its subcontractors complied with German labour law. 

Amazon’s move into logistics poses a threat to players like former state monopoly Deutsche Post DHL, which uses relatively well paid employees to do its deliveries rather than subcontractors...

The proposed legislation seeks to extend to the parcel sector rules that already cover the construction and meat processing sectors: these make companies liable if their subcontractors fail to pay social security contributions for their workers. 

Heil said he hoped parliament [...] would approve the law before Christmas, the busiest season for the parcel sector...

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Article
4 March 2019

Germany: Labour minister to introduce new law combatting poor working conditions in parcel delivery sector

Author: Deutsche Welle

'German labor minister tackles working conditions in parcel delivery sector', 2 March 2019

German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil announced a new law on Saturday to combat illegal working conditions in the parcel delivery sector.The law would force Germany's main delivery service companies to cover any failure by their subcontractors to pay the minimum wage or social insurance contributions, he said in an interview with the RND media group.

Germany's biggest services union, Verdi, welcomed the move. It has repeatedly criticized major delivery companies for failing to tackle what it says are "precarious" employment conditions at many subcontractor firms. Verdi boss Frank Bsirske said some subcontractors used cheap labor from Eastern Europe to deliver packages, often paying them as little as €4.50 ($5.12) an hour for shifts that lasted up to 16 hours. Germany's hourly minimum wage is €9.19.

Only two of Germany's five biggest delivery service companies, DHL and UPS, use their own employees to deliver parcels, according to Verdi. The other three companies generally use subcontractors. But the German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (Biek) dismissed accusations that it was not doing enough to stop wage dumping. It said contracts between its members and other companies require subcontractors to pay workers the minimum wage and social contributions. [...]

Heil said employees in the construction and the meat industries had benefited from rule changes. He added that the regulations could apply to the parcel delivery sector as soon as the end of this year.

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