Switzerland - Posting company condemned for underpayment - January 31, 2018

A labour court in Geneva has ruled against a subcontractor that underpaid its posted workers active on a Geneva building site. The workers earned 8 euro an hour, about a third of what the work warranted, the court said. The case was led by the trade union UNIA on behalf of the workers and has been ongoing for almost five years. The reason for the delay and difficulty of the case is that the subcontractor turned out to be a type of ‘phantom-company’, impossible to pin down. The Polish company was subcontracted by a German principal contractor for the building work; however, according to Swiss law covering posted workers, the primary company can only be prosecuted once all avenues of chasing down the subcontractor are exhausted. In this case, UNIA explained, the workers would need to obtain a court order from the Polish justice system before returning and possibly launching a case in Germany.

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For more information, please contact the editor Jan Cremers or Nuria Ramos Martin, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) cbn-aias@uva.nl or the communications officer at the ETUI, Willy De Backer wdebacker@etui.org. For previous issues of the Collective bargaining newsletter please visit http://www.etui.org/E-Newsletters/Collective-bargaining-newsletter. Since June 2013 readers can consult our archive and search through all articles in our database at www.cbnarchive.euYou may find further information on the ETUI at www.etui.org, and on the AIAS at www.uva-aias.net.

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