Speaking ahead of the European Parliament vote on new rules dealing with the posting of workers, German GUE/NGL MEP Thomas Händel said that “EU legislators should be acting to fight against social dumping and to ensure workers get equal pay for equal work”, and that while the current rules are abused, this latest measure was “a half-hearted effort that workers will pay for”.

“Posted workers encounter many problems: lack of information, lack of cross border cooperation, fraudulent companies that do not pay wages and social security contributions, minimal health and safety requirements, letter-box companies that get round the law. Unfortunately, this directive fails in its objective to better protect them against abuse and circumvention. In fact it makes things worse by limiting the list of control measures,” he said.

A posted worker is a person who is sent by his or her employer to work in another EU member state. The Commission estimates the number of posted workers in the EU at over 1 million.

French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric said the posting of workers directive “has for too long been used by big multinationals to get around labour law and carry out social dumping at the expense of social security and pension rights”.

“We need to tackle this problem at its root – European economic and social policy cannot be based on social dumping!” he said.

“Companies will have an easier time exploiting workers from other countries,” said Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong who told the house that the notion of “complete freedom to provide services prevailed” over workers' rights in these negotiations. “The basic principle should be equal pay for equal working conditions.”

The vote on this enforcement directive takes place tomorrow.

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