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Fairer rules for posting of workers need to be defined at EU level

Rules applicable to the posting of workers in Europe should be defined at EU level, concludes a draft opinion adopted at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on 19 September. The report drafted by the SEDEC Commission Chair Yoomi Renström (SE/PES) calls for a reasonable balance between the free movement of services and the protection for posted workers in order to fight social dumping.

The revision of the Posting of Workers directive has been subject to a 'yellow card' procedure from national parliaments in 11 Member States mainly from Central and Eastern Europe. The European Commission has nevertheless maintained its legislative proposal arguing that it does not constitute a breach of the subsidiarity principle. The draft opinion adopted at the CoR Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) agrees that the objective of the revision, that is, a common definition of the rules applicable to the posting of workers, can be better achieved at EU level.

The Commission proposal introduces changes in three main areas: remuneration of posted workers, rules on temporary agency workers and long-term posting. In the future, posted workers would generally benefit from the same rules governing pay and working conditions as local workers.

"Because of wage differences between Member States, the posting of workers in the context of the free movement of services can put downward pressure on remuneration in the country to which the workers are posted. Such unfair competition leads to social dumping in the host country and undermines public acceptance for the functioning of the internal market in the EU ", said rapporteur Yoomi Renström.

To further improve the Commission proposal, the CoR draft opinion suggests that the time limit beyond which the law of the host country must apply in full to a posted worker could be reduced from 24 to 12 months. It should also be applied separately to each posted worker, as cumulating periods of several posted workers could lead into implementation difficulties.

The SEDEC commission also adopted two amendments which call for a European support scheme to protect posted workers against cascade subcontracting practices and suggest the creation of a European directory of occupations and vocational skills to avoid that posted workers' skills are deliberately underestimated.

Members of the SEDEC commission also took position on the proposed New Skills Agenda for Europe in a report prepared by Marie-Louise Rönnmark (SE/PES), Mayor of Umeå. Thedraft opinion fully supports the introduction of a Skills Guarantee for low-qualified adults, detailing the explicit goals and obligations that reflect the individual's commitment to upskilling. It also subscribes to the review of the European Qualifications Framework and underlines the importance of skills identification, language introduction and upskilling efforts to promote integration at work and in society of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. "Investment in human capital should be treated as a social investment", the rapporteur stressed.

Both draft opinions are scheduled for adoption at the CoR plenary session in December.

Contact:

Lauri Ouvinen 
Tel. +32 22822063 
lauri.ouvinen@cor.europa.eu

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