Trade union information booklet for seasonal foreign workers in Germany
- Responsible Organizations: The German Trade Union for Building, Forestry, Agriculture and the Environment (Industriegewerkschaft Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt, IG BAU) (Trade Union); Polish trade union representing employees in agriculture (Zwizek Zawodowy Pracowników Rolnictwa w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, ZZPR) (Trade Union)
- ILO Regions: Europe
- Country(ies): Germany; Poland
- Theme(s): Migration process; Prevention of abusive practices; Protection of migrant workers
- Start date: 2000
The information booklet aims to provide Polish seasonal workers in Germany a wide range of information on legal and trade union matters.
- German government 2002-2004
Activities, processes and steps involved
In August 2003, German and Polish Trade Unions continued their long-running cooperation by jointly publishing a bilingual information booklet aimed at Polish seasonal workers in Germany. It contains information on a wide range of issues, such as: the basic provisions concerning the employment contract; employers¿ legal obligations concerning health insurance; the national social benefit system; legal entitlement to paid leave, regulations on pay taxes and the legal minimum standards to be observed by employers concerning accommodation. The booklet gives advice on how the trade union can help its members in legal cases involving conflicts with the employer that may occur during seasonal employment, and provides the addresses and phone numbers of regional trade union offices. The booklet is designed for seasonal workers in all sectors but distribution is focused on the agriculture sectors, where the bulk of seasonal employment is found. More recently, in Spring 2006, the transnational cooperation on seasonal workers was improved by the establishment of a special agreement between Germany and Poland on the social security regulations of Polish seasonal workers. Either German or Polish law on social security applies, depending on the circumstances of the worker (i.e. whether worker is self-employed, unemployed or student, working during paid or unpaid holidays etc).
German IG BAU trade union and Polish ZZPR trade union. It is under the umbrella of the European Migrant Workers Union.
The publication of the information booklet in two languages providing information and assistance for Polish seasonal workers in Germany.
Relevant criteria for assessment
1. Respect for migrant workers¿ rights
The booklet aims at protecting migrant workers¿ rights by providing them relevant information on their employment conditions and social benefits entitlement while working in Germany. This initiative in fully in line with the ILO Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work (1998) applied to migrant workers.
The practice satisfies the needs of the Polish seasonal workers, it gives important information about legal migration, employers¿ obligations and the national social security system.
3. (Positive) Impact
The New York Times reported November 19, 2006 those 800,000 Poles left the country in the 2.5 years and most of them arrived in Germany. The practice improves the working conditions of the Polish workers¿ rights in Germany and protects their rights, including social security provisions and social benefits, thus it contributes to the well-being of the families of the Polish workers left behind.
4. Potential for replication and extension (adaptability)
Besides Polish workers, the European Migrant Workers Union also represents the interests of workers from other countries (Bulgarian, Rumanian, Hungarian).
5. Broad-based and participatory
The practice involves governments and trade unions from both Germany and Poland.
It has the potential to be sustained long-term as more countries have created similar arrangements.
The objective of providing relevant information to migrant workers on their rights is achieved.