Unions Say Posted Workers Revison Is ‘Equal Pay For Some’

Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation

The European Commission’s proposed revision of the Posted Workers Directive will deliver equal pay for many, but not all, posted workers.

The proposed wording on remuneration has been improved from earlier drafts. However, the proposed restrictive definition of the type of collective agreement recognised is not satisfactory: excluding most sectoral collective agreements in some countries (including Germany and Italy), and all company-level agreements.

President Juncker promised equal pay for equal work and has delivered it with a significant loophole” said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). “We appreciate Commission’s intentions and efforts, but the solution proposed is not satisfactory. It is equal pay that many posted workers will never get. Workers and trade unions will be obliged to continue to go to court to see their rights recognised.”

The ETUC and employers asked the European Commission to delay publication to allow time for a consultation with social partners” * said Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary at the ETUC. “The Commission did not follow our advice and the result is a proposal that excludes many workers. This is a lost opportunity for getting full equal treatment in Europe. We will start now lobbying the European Parliament to correct the text.”

The revision is very narrow and fails to include the following elements to stop the exploitation of workers:

  • The right of trade unions to collectively bargain for posted workers;
  • Making main contractors jointly liable with their subcontractors for respect of terms and conditions of employment;

 The ETUC appreciates that the Commission’s proposal introduces full equal treatment for temporary agency workers who are posted, and that it aligned the duration of posting to social security provisions. This will fix huge problems of interpretation of the current directive. Nevertheless, the proposed maximum 24-month posting is too long, as the average duration is 4 months.

According to the European Commission, some 1.9 million workers were ‘posted’ from one EU Member State to another for work in 2014 (the last year statistics were collected).

 TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Workers brought into the UK on short-term projects have been used by unscrupulous bosses to drive down wages bills and undercut good employers. Many have been subjected to appalling exploitation. While the Commission is right to tackle this issue, far bolder measures are needed.

“If the European Commission wants people to vote to stay in the EU this June, they need to take working people’s concerns seriously. We will be working with unions across Europe and Members of the European Parliament to strengthen these proposals and make them more effective and fairer for everyone.”

*Click here for the letter from ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP and UAPME to the European Commission.

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