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Poles accused of wage dumping forcing Austrians out of work

The Polish chamber of commerce has been accused of encouraging wage dumping by actively campaigning for the use of Polish labourers among German speaking firms.

Othmar Danninger, regional director in Salzburg of the Building and Timber Trade Union, said that there was a growing number of Polish labourers in use in Salzburg that were taking the business in particular from small and medium sized companies.

He said: "When you see that in August in Salzburg the numbers of Polish labourers have increased by 600 on the previous year and that at the same time unemployment has increased, then you know that an unfair competition is taking place."

He said the methods used to recruit such staff were increasingly shameless, with the Polish chamber of commerce inviting German language building firms to seminars in Krakow where they were "introduced" to Polish builders.

He added that there were advanatges for Polish labourers as well, an Austrian employer is obliged to pay tax and social insurance from day one - a Polish employer however only has to do it after 6 months.

He said tougher controls of building sites and heavier fines were needed to help correct the problem.

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