New rules on posting of workers are an overdue first step, say S&Ds
S&D Euro MPs today welcomed the revision of rules on the posting of workers – where workers are employed in one EU country but are sent to work in another temporarily – as a good start to ensure fairer conditions on the labour market.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for economic and social affairs Maria João Rodrigues said:
"The Socialists and Democrats have been fighting hard for a revision of the rules on the posting of workers, following evidence of abuses and circumventions of wage agreements and social standards. This was one of the conditions we set to approve the Juncker Commission.
"We will keep up our efforts in the legislative process to prevent the exploitation of workers and ensure fair competition in the Single Market."
S&D Group spokesperson on employment and social affairs Jutta Steinruck MEP added:
"It is good to see that the Commission finally acknowledges that there is a fundamental problem with the Posting of Workers Directive and not just with its enforcement. Thanks to pressure from us and the intervention of the trade unions over the weekend, the Commission proposal was substantially improved at the last minute. It is surprising, however, that Commission President Juncker, who wants to be the 'President of the Social Dialogue', did not involve social partners at an early state on such an important proposal.
"We welcome the introduction of a time limit for the posting of workers but the 24 months proposed is not realistic. The average posting lasts for four months, so the limit should be brought down to six months. Furthermore other fundamental problems related to posting must be addressed as well, such as the constant exchange of posted workers and 'letter-box companies'.
"The principle of equal pay for equal work at the same place is not negotiable for us and must apply to all workers, including those who are posted. At the same time it must be underlined that the provisions of the Posting of Workers Directive are only minimum provisions. Member states must be allowed to apply more stringent conditions to protect workers."
S&D Euro MP Agnes Jongerius added:
"It is a positive sign that Commission President Juncker finally recognised what we Socialists and Democrats have been saying for years: we need to ensure the fair provision of services based on equal pay for equal work at the same workplace.
"Solidarity in a union of 28 different labour markets can only prevail if workers are protected and companies have a level playing field.
"It is good to see that the Commission suggests equal pay for posted workers in subcontracting chains and for posted workers who are recruited through private employment agencies as well.
"However, this does not solve the serious challenges related to differences in social-security contributions. That is why we the Socialists and Democrats are looking forward to an ambitious Commission proposal on social-security co-ordination later this year."