New minimum wage in Germany poses a threat to the Polish exhibition sector

The imposition of the German labour law on other countries raises a resolute protest of the entrepreneurs of the exhibition industry in Poland. Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry has already issued a call through open letters to the Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and to the Ministers of the Economy, Infrastructure and Development, Labour and Social Affairs, and of Foreign Affairs. PCEI, the only national organisation associating exhibition sector companies, expressed the indignation about the application of new regulations concerning minimum wage in Germany (amounting to € 8.5 per hour) to Polish enterprises which render services in the territory of Germany, as well as about the fact that inasmuch as German authorities had notified foreign associations of carriers about the application of the requirement of minimum wage to foreign drivers, no one had informed foreign organisations of the exhibition industry about the consequences of the new regulations for the employees of that sector. In an extensive manner PCEI described to the authorities the specifics of business activity connected with the services of assembling and dismantling exhibitions stands, which in the context of the new requirements imposed on the companies which render their services in Germany, means not only additional duties and related organisational and bureaucratic difficulties, but also additional costs which are difficult to estimate today. The wide aspect of specialist trade fairs services covers deliveries of elements of exhibition architecture and stand furnishings, comprehensive graphics and design services, advertising and audio-visual services, plumbing, electrical, lighting, equipment- and furniture-related services, catering and hostesses, which significantly broadens the group of Polish enterprises which render these important pro-export services. Due to the obligation to apply German minimum wage to the employees of Polish companies, the entrepreneurs associated in PCEI estimate negative consequences in the form of increased costs of comprehensive trade fair services connected with executing orders in the territory of Germany, within the rage of 20-30%. This means that the decision of German state authorities will effectively decrease the competitiveness of Polish enterprises and eliminate them from the German, and consequently, even from the European market. In the correspondence with the Polish state authorities, we draw their attention to the fact that among the companies affected by the consequences of the implementation of the new German Act will also probably be Polish exhibitors who participate in trade fairs and exhibitions in Germany with their own personnel and staff. The costs of their potential participation will grow significantly, which will probably force some of them to withdraw from their plans to participate in events abroad to the detriment of their plans of internationalisation. The ultimate effect will be the slowdown of the development of the Polish export. The matter in question was the topic of two meetings held in the recent days in the PCEI office with participation of the chapter of stand construction companies, during which the threats have been defined which arise from the new situation, as well as the detailed course of action has been developed to be applied in Germany in relation with rendering services in that country. On January 26, 2015, Members of the Chamber received the relevant guidelines. Source: Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry, January 2015.