Adecco ‘sorry’ as revelations persist

Embattled employment agency Adecco has apologized to its competitors for the negative attention it has attracted to their branch, as revelations of employment law violations and overcharging for services continued to spiral out of the company’s control.

An internal investigation by the company has already revealed that Adecco was overcharging the City of Oslo by as much as NOK 3 million (more than USD 500,000), and the Norwegian parliament by around NOK 500,000 (nearly USD 90,000). The firm’s chief executive has now confirmed that the agency is withdrawing from all nursing home operations in Norway, and offered a public apology on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) to other human resources and care providers for putting the industry in a bad light.

More contract cancellations
The decision to pull out of the nursing home industry came as yet more local municipalities decided to end contracts with Adecco. Oslo and Oppegård councils had already done so in the last few weeks, following revelations of employees working 84-hour shifts and sleeping in rooms within their nursing homes. The news that Klæbu nursing home, further north in Sør-Trondelag, wanted to end its agreement with the firm only hastened Adecco’s move out of the entire sector.

Speaking to NRK, which originally uncovered the agency’s unlawful activities, Adecco Norge chief executive Anders Øwre-Johnsen promised to “secure a professional handover of the nursing homes, so that residents and employees experience a good and safe transfer.” When asked whether he would apologize to others in the employment sector for shedding a bad light on the industry, he said he would do so “gladly.”

‘Wide-ranging discrepancies from day one’
Klæbu Mayor Jarle Martin Gundersen told NRK that preliminary conclusions to a rare joint-investigation by both the health and labour regulators of the area’s Adecco-run care home “confirmed wide-ranging discrepancies, both in relation to labour law and legislation that aims to secure responsible nursing home operation.” According to Gundersen, these discrepancies had been going on at the home “from day one.”

The mayor and his council were criticized by health employers’ organization Delta for “not having followed up with controls” over nursing home staff who were still technically employed by the municipality through Adecco. Gundersen accepted some of this criticism, admitting that his administration must be “self-critical for the fact that we did not pay better attention to the operation of Klæbu Sykehjem.”

Overcharging
Meanwhile, Adecco confirmed that its ongoing internal review had revealed that Norway’s parliament had been overcharged for services by NOK 472,000 between 2007 and 2010, while Oslo city officials had also been overcharged to the tune of between NOK 1 million and 3 million during 2009-2011. Both the parliament and the city administration had already terminated its agreements with the company.

Four local councils in northern Norway also found out that Adecco has broken working-time regulations within their jurisdictions. The majority of the violations occurred during peak periods and holiday seasons.

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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