Last night, the European ministers for social affairs and employment reached a historic agreement on the introduction of equal pay for equal work in the same place for workers temporarily posted in another EU country. The decision follows a vote in the employment committee of the European Parliament last week, in which the Socialists and Democrats scored an important victory after having pushed for many years to reform the outdated rules on the posting of workers. The Socialists and Democrats led the fight to better protect posted workers from day one to ensure fair conditions and fair competition on the European labour market. Following yesterday’s decision, the S&Ds warn against unnecessary delays.
Agnes Jongerius MEP, S&D spokesperson on the posting of workers, said:
“The member states’ decision to endorse proposals put forward by the Socialists and Democrats will improve the lives of millions of workers in Europe. Colleagues working side by side on the same job at the same place must earn the same salary as of day one. This is a fundamental question of justice.
“Too many of the two million posted workers currently working in another EU country are abused, work for lower salaries and less social protection than the local workforce and are living under horrendous conditions. In the past years the number of posted workers has grown constantly, making it even more urgent to ensure that posted workers are protected from day one and the race to the bottom on salaries and working conditions is halted.
“I regret that member states could not agree on including the transport sector in the new rules. We must put a stop to rampant exploitation and unfair competition in transport. All transport workers deserve fair pay and better working conditions.”
Udo Bullmann MEP, S&D vice-president, added:
“Last night saw a breakthrough for social Europe. For the first time, member states recognized the principle of equal pay for equal work. I am proud that the Socialists and Democrats, who fought for many years to have new rules for posted workers, won this important victory for all European workers.
“Workers and companies playing by the rules have already waited a very long time for new rules to ensure fair conditions and fair competition on the European labour market. We warn member states against delaying or watering down the new rules. European workers and companies deserve better than that. We must now stop the abuse of posted workers and the race to the bottom on wages and working conditions in all sectors, including the transport sector.
“Employment ministers also made important progress on the social pillar for social rights, acknowledging the need for new laws and binding measures to ensure the social protection of European citizens. We take member states at their word and will make sure that their nice words are followed by actions.”
Note to the editor:
The new rules still need to be agreed in negotiations between member states and the European Parliament and to be adopted in a vote in the plenary of the European Parliament.
Today there are 2.05 million posted workers in the EU. 42% of posted workers work in the construction sector, 21.8% in the manufacturing sector and 13.5% in social services. The average duration of a posting is four months. Posting increased by 41.3% between 2010 and 2015.