Socialists and Democrats today welcomed the presentation of guidelines to strengthen the protection of seasonal workers in the EU in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. These proposals come as a response to the Group's demands outlined in a resolution adopted by the European Parliament last month. These guidelines will bring clarity in the context of recent COVID-19 outbreaks in several slaughterhouses across the EU, involving seasonal workers, but strengthened legislation at national and European level is needed to protect cross-border and seasonal workers once and for all.
Agnes Jongerius, S&D spokeswoman on employment and social affairs, said:
“The unacceptable working and living conditions of cross-border and seasonal workers in Europe have not yet changed. The COVID-19 crisis shed light on it again; this time we cannot continue business as usual. From my own observation, I know cross-border workers are forced to share rooms and to pay exorbitant prices for filthy accommodation.
“The Commission is rightfully calling for regulating the standards of decent housing, without deducting the rent, and member states must now turn this into law. We need structural change throughout the supply-chain, also at a European level. Therefore, the Temporary Agency Work Directive needs revision, to stop shifting responsibility. Commissioner Schmit is completely right that much more enforcement is needed. Member states must step up now on the number of inspectors.”
Gabriele Bischoff, S&D negotiator on social security, stated:
“It is good that the Commission affirms the rights of seasonal workers, but this is not sufficient without better controls and enforcement of exciting legislation. Therefore, it is obvious that the European Labour Authority needs more resources and competences if we really want to stop fraud and violations of EU law. A European Social Security Number can help here, and create legal certainty for employees and companies. We also need independent points of contact and we need to make sure that these workers are able to make complaints, regardless of the member state they are in.
“Member states must ensure that their social security systems are stable, reliable and crisis-proof and that the EU provides common rules to protect social security rights when moving within Europe. Therefore, we are hoping for a swift conclusion of an agreement on the revision of social security coordination Regulations in order to guarantee fair mobility and social protections for all EU citizens.”
Note to editors:
Agnes Jongerius and Gabriele Bischoff negotiated the European Parliament’s resolution on the protection of cross-border and seasonal workers in the EU, on behalf of the S&D Group.