S&D Euro MPs today have rejected a mandate to open negotiations with the Council on the enforcement of an EU law because it fails to ensure a better protection for workers posted to work in another member state.
The vote took place in the Parliament's employment and social affairs committee.
Said S&D vice-president and negotiator Stephen Hughes:
"This new law was meant to strengthen the rights of posted workers and to avoid social dumping and unfair competition. The current situation is not satisfactory as these rights have been undermined by the original EU law in 1996 and several EU court rulings since. That is why we wanted to rebalance this by ensuring clear definitions and principles, but in the end it failed because of the opposition we faced.
"We have achieved some results on the liability of subcontractors and national control measures. But the conservatives and the Greens have voted against trade union rights and the possibility to effectively combat social dumping.
"In the end, we face the risk of gross exploitation of workers who are sent to work in another EU member state. The door to abuses and avoidance is still wide open for unscrupulous employers."
Said S&D spokesman for employment and social affairs Alejandro Cercas:
"The right-wing has allied with the Greens and they do not want to end social dumping. This is today's lesson.
"We have tried to ensure that the legal rights of workers posted abroad are clearly defined and protected but the final text is full of loopholes and was not acceptable for us.
"On the definition of posted workers and clear legal consequences the right and the Greens refused to go far enough. The starting point of the negotiation with Council and Commission is weakened by this alliance between the conservatives, the extreme right and the Greens.
"Through their lobbying, European business and some member states are now very happy with the outcome: a two-speed labour market. This is indeed a sad day for millions of workers and the trade unions."