The European Commission issued in March 2016 a proposal for a review of the Posting of Workers Directive. This proposal is part of a response to a broader call for equal treatment of workers and a level playing field for companies, amidst exasperation of cross-border social fraud and social dumping and general discontent of a European Union that fails to deliver on its social agenda.
From the very start, the draft revision of the Directive has brought to light a fierce antagonism between States that support the revision of the text (mainly Western and Northern Europe), and those who consider a strong Posting of Workers Directive to be contrary to the free provision of services and are generally against a revision (mainly Central and Eastern Europe).
This week, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of Ministers finally agreed on a general approach to start inter-institutional negotiations. However the deal reached fails in particular to recognize that the Directive should be legally based on social objectives and not only on the free movement of services. The compromise text is still unclear on some issues covering remuneration and provides that the transport sector be excluded and addressed specifically.
Meanwhile, a compromise has also been reached in the European Parliament and this compromise has taken a number of trade union demands on board, and it is a step in the right direction at the start of the trilogue negotiations. Some of the items taken onboard in the European Parliament compromise are: equal remuneration, the host state defines remuneration, broader scope of collective agreements included, board and lodging in the hard core, when comparing benefits a most favourable clause applies, and, finally, a so called “Monti Clause” is included which guarantees fundamental rights for workers and trade unions.
Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT General Secretary, “ The forthcoming weeks and months will be decisive. The revision of the Directive needs to be consolidated to secure high social and labour standards for all workers in Europe. But this is not the end of the debate on equal treatment - to be effective the new legislation goes hand-in-hand with the current revision of the regulation coordinating social security systems to prevent abusive posting situations and social contribution fraud. The suggested introduction of a dedicated agency for mobile work within the European Union does not belong to dreams but shall become reality if Europe wants to be on the side of working people”.
Presented by the Commission in December 2016, the draft revision of the social security systems coordination regulation includes a chapter on posting. An initial draft report is due to be presented by the European Parliament by the end of 2017. On the occasion of his speech on the State of the Union, Mr. Juncker called for the creation of a Common Labour Authority designed to “monitor the respect of equity in (the) single market” and would help prevent “second class workers”.