Bonn Around 30 customs agents sprung into action in Bonn’s Old Town on Friday evening, checking for illegal workers and compliance of minimum wage laws. In a joint operation with the public order office, they carried out raids on several establishments serving food.
Customs agents fanned out in large numbers in Bonn's Old Town on Friday evening. As in a previous inspection in September, it was all about illegal workers and compliance with the minimum wage. This time around, however, the customs investigators had reason for suspicion so their checks were not random.
Around 30 customs inspectors and five employees of the Bonn Office of Public Order were on the job for several hours. Responding to a request for information, Jens Ahland, spokesman for the main customs office in Cologne, said the raids were carried out in the gastronomy industry. Five premises were inspected at the same time, all of them run by the same operator.
"We have been monitoring compliance with the minimum wage and cases of illegal employment that we already know about from the past," said Ahland. But they also checked for social benefit fraud and failure to register and pay social security taxes. This led to agents questioning several employees about their employment conditions. The situation was not easy or straightforward. "We had a person who wanted to escape our inspection by fleeing," customs spokesman Ahland said. This proved unsuccessful, however, as that person was found by the agents a short time later.
The action continued late into the evening hours. In addition to those establishments that were targeted, the investigators also routinely checked others. Besides the businesses in Bonn, one in Troisdorf was also inspected at the same time. The results of the investigation have not yet been released by customs.
The Directorate General of Customs, with its headquarters and 320 employees in Bonn, hopes that these checks will also enable employees who have concerns to report them. This can also be done anonymously. According to Dietmar Zwengel, the spokesman for the Directorate General of Customs, the fact that undeclared work is a focal point for their bureau can be traced back to the coalition agreement of the federal government. It also means that further inspections can be expected in the future.
(Orig. text: general-anzeiger-bonn.de, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)