Swiss multinational staffing agency Adecco on Thursday saw its bumper profits overshadowed by problems at its Norwegian unit, which is accused of breaking labour law.

"/> Swiss multinational staffing agency Adecco on Thursday saw its bumper profits overshadowed by problems at its Norwegian unit, which is accused of breaking labour law.

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NORWAY

Norway scandal spoils party for Adecco

Swiss multinational staffing agency Adecco on Thursday saw its bumper profits overshadowed by problems at its Norwegian unit, which is accused of breaking labour law.

Swiss multinational staffing agency Adecco on Thursday saw its bumper profits overshadowed by problems at its Norwegian unit, which is accused of breaking labour law.

Several Norwegian municipalities have recently opted not to renew their contracts with the health branch of Adecco Norway following media reports at the end of February alleging numerous cases of illegal working conditions.
  

Adecco reportedly let its temp staff, at their request, work massive amounts of overtime while not being adequately compensated.
 

In one Oslo nursing home, Adecco reportedly allowed its temp employees to work up to 84-hour weeks without overtime pay, and staff reportedly slept in the establishment’s basement to be able to squeeze in more working hours.
 

Following the reports, Adecco Norway acknowledged breaches of the country’s labour laws in health care centres, some of which have dropped their contracts with the Swiss firm.
 

“Our management, our top management, was not aware of it. The people who are involved and that were aware of it, we let go,” Adecco’s chief executive Patrick de Maeseneire was quoted as saying by public broadcaster NRK.  

Adecco later told Norwegian daily Dagbladet that its chief executive’s comments referred to the head of Adecco Norway’s healthcare unit, Baard Kristiansen, who announced his resignation on February 24.
 

With local elections in September, the case has taken on political tones in Norway where the left and right disagree on how are private companies should be allowed to provide healthcare.
 

Norway’s Labour Inspection Authority has asked police to open an investigation into the case.
 

Adecco Norway held a news conference Thursday and promised to fix the situation.
 

“Let me make this clear: everyone will retroactively receive the overtime payment they are entitled to,” the head of the group Anders Oewre-Johnsen said, according to news agency NTB.
 

The scandal erupted as Adecco on Thursday reported soaring results in 2010, with a net profit of €423 million ($587 million) up from just eight million euros a year earlier.

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ADECCO

Top execs quit Adecco amid improved results

Swiss-based Adecco, the world's biggest temporary staffing group, said on Thursday that both its chief executive and finance chief have quit, as it posted strong first-quarter earnings on the back of improving sales in Europe.

Top execs quit Adecco amid improved results
Photo: AFP

In a surprise announcement, Adecco said its CEO Patrick De Maeseneire would be leaving at the end of August and would be replaced by Alain Dehaze, a Belgian national who currently leads the company's operations in its key
market France.
   
The Zurich-based company also announced that its chief financial officer Dominik de Daniel had decided to leave at the end of July, and that his successor was yet to be determined.
 
Adecco's board thanked both men for their "outstanding contribution" to the company, but gave no explanations for their departures.
   
"The fact that the board decided for an internal successor stands for continuity," chairman of the board Rolf Doerig said in a statement of the decision to hand the reins to Dehaze, who joined Adecco in 2009.
   
Thursday's shake-up announcement cast a shadow over Adecco's stellar earnings, which showed a 45-percent jump in net profit in the first quarter to €160 million ($182 million).

   
That was better than the expectations of analysts polled by the AWP financial news agency, who had anticipated a net profit of €145 million for the quarter.

Adecco's revenues meanwhile grew nine percent to 5.0 billion euros as the economic outlook improved in Europe.
   
"In the first quarter revenue growth accelerated, helped by an improving environment in Europe," De Maeseneire said in the earnings statement.
   
"Conditions in France stabilized and we saw a pick-up in Benelux, while Italy, Iberia and Eastern Europe again achieved double-digit growth," he said.
   
France meanwhile lost its place as Adecco's largest market, with North America taking the lead for the quarter with 21 percent of total sales.
   
In France, which accounted for a fifth of Adecco's total sales, revenues slipped two percent during the quarter to €1.0 billion, hit by a weak construction sector.

Looking forward, the group said that based on the current economic outlook, it expects "revenue growth to accelerate in the second half of 2015".

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