European uncertainty helps Swiss temp agency Adecco

The world's biggest temporary staffing agency said Thursday August 9th that that it saw revenue growth last quarter as uncertainty in key European markets helped drive demand for short-term workers.

European uncertainty helps Swiss temp agency Adecco

Economic growth slowed in Europe in the second quarter, but a range of other issues also discouraged firms from hiring permanent staff, said Adecco.

“Between the elections in Italy, Brexit, uncertainty in Catalonia, the strikes in France, there are lots of elements that weren't favourable to growth,” said the firm's chief executive Alain Dehaze.

“Even if just barely, this lack of clarity had a tendency to push companies to prefer flexible hiring,” he said after the company announced its second quarter results.

Overall, Adecco's revenue edged 1 percent higher to 6.1 billion euros ($7.0 billion) in April through June. Net profits fell by 11 percent to 170 million euros as the company stepped up investments to modernise and restructure its operations.

Revenue growth was fastest in Italy, at 11 percent when adjusted for factors like changes in the value of the currencies and the number of working days.

Italy has been gripped by uncertainty that was aggravated by an election that finally led to a populist government that has already moved to tighten restrictions on firing staff.

In France, Adecco's largest market, revenues rose by 8 percent for placement of temporary workers, with increases driven by the manufacturing, logistics, and automotive sectors.

France also has labour market rules that make it more difficult to reduce staff numbers when business slows, which employers say discourage them from taking on permanent employees.

“The impact of the strikes was clearly marked, but it is difficult to quantify in terms of hiring,” said Dehaze.

Meanwhile in Britain and Ireland, Adecco also saw strong revenue growth of 6 percent thanks in part to winning new contracts. Ireland will feel the largest impact from Britain leaving the EU if London is not able to work out easy access to the single market.

In Spain and Portugal, revenues rose by 5 percent, after having grown strongly in previous quarters due to the recovery of the Spanish economy and uncertainty triggered by Catalonia's independence drive.

In the United States, where employers are having increased difficulty in finding workers, revenues rose 3 percent, although this represented the best result in three years.  Adecco's shares fell by 2.6 percent in midday trading while the Swiss SMI 
index was 0.3 percent lower.


Ryanair cabin crew in Germany back labour deal

German cabin crew have approved a proposed labour agreement hashed out with Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, the Verdi union said, ending months of deadlock and strike threats over better pay and conditions.

Ryanair cabin crew in Germany back labour deal
A Ryanair plane at an airport in West Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

The influential Verdi union said members voted “by a large majority” on Tuesday to back a deal struck with Ryanair management last week that will raise crews' basic salary by €600 a month, alongside other pay increases and guaranteed working hours.

The deal, which still needs to be finalized by the end of the month, also switches German staff from Irish to local labour contracts, addressing a key gripe among Ryanair staff across Europe.

Verdi board member Christine Behle hailed the outcome as “a great success” and praised Ryanair cabin crew for “fighting for their rights”.

But she condemned Ryanair's refusal to accept a so-called works council, a body within a company that represents workers and an important feature in Germany's corporate world.

The labour agreement does not apply to Ryanair pilots, who are being represented by German cockpit union VC.

The hard-fought deal comes after German cabin crew joined a pan European walkout in September they say forced Ryanair to cancel more than 190 flights. 

SEE ALSO: Almost 40 percent of Ryanair flights in Germany cancelled

A 24-hour strike by German cabin and cockpit crew earlier that month also forced the cancellation of 150 Ryanair flights.

Ryanair only began recognizing unions for the first time in its 30-year history last December, to avert mass strikes during the busy Christmas period.

It has since been hit with a wave of industrial action that has dented profits.

The budget carrier has so far managed to clinch labour agreements with staff in several countries including Britain, Portugal and Italy.