23 May 2014

Dortmund tackles challenge to minimum wage in tender

The German state of North Rhine Westphalia was within its rights to include minimum wage requirements in an invitation to tender, according to a legal opinion published by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Däubler, a prominent German lawyer specialising in labour law. The opinion was requested following a challenge by the Bundesdruckerei company to a tender published by the City of Dortmund.

The Bundesdruckerei company wished to use a subsidiary in Poland in fulfilling the contract, and would have been obliged to pay those working on the project a mandatory minimum wage of €8.62 per hour. They argued that this was unfairly restrictive, a point which is rebutted by Dr Däubler. Previous judgements on imposing minimum wage requirements have ruled them out as being too restrictive on companies with subsidiaries in areas or countries not subject to the same legislation.

Dr Däubler explains that this case is different as the minimum wage is specifically linked to a tender, meaning that Dortmund council is not imposing any conditions on the company’s work more generally. Although it relates to a very specific case within a federal state, the case illuminates an area of procurement law which can cause difficulties for public authorities trying to introduce more socially responsible procurement practices.

For more information, click here [in German].