For two and a half hours, all shovels stood still: seven task forces of the financial control moonlighting of the main customs office Braunschweig, as well as three employees of the Ordnungsamt of the city and one of the Berufsgenossenschaft Bau stood yesterday morning visited the construction site in the Amtsstrabe. When asked by our newspaper, the spokesman for the main customs office, Andreas Lohde, explained that it was a suspicion-independent test – not an isolated case in Wolfsburg.
While employees of the employers' liability insurance association were interested in whether safety regulations were being observed on the construction site, the customs and public order officers had the employees' papers handed to them. Their interest was in the questions of whether the workers are properly registered and whether you are paid the minimum wage.
Lohde could not give any information on the outcome of the test. However, it is clear that wherever work is being done, one must expect that customs could be at the door at some point. "Especially on the subject of minimum wage, we are trying to monitor more closely – not just on construction sites, but across all industries."
What tricks are there, how employers want to avoid the legally anchored wage claim of employees? Lohde uses the fictitious example of a hairdresser to explain that he only includes in his working hours the time his employees spend cutting customers' hair – everything else is excluded. "The trade unions and professional associations in particular are demanding that there should be much more monitoring," Lohde says.
Customs employees question employees, and their information is checked against their employer's accounting records and his statements to authorities. "The bulk of our work doesn't take place on site at all during an inspection at a construction site or a store, but actually afterwards at our desks."