The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives
Brussels, 30 November 2012
The CoR calls for closer monitoring of employee posting to protect the interests of workers concerned
European legislation must be given the means to guarantee the fundamental social rights of workers temporarily posted to other countries. The Commission's proposal on posted workers is insufficient for this purpose and must be improved. This is the message conveyed by the Committee of the Regions in adopting an opinion by Alain Hutchinson (BE/PES), member of the Brussels Regional Parliament, at its plenary session.
The opinion adopted by CoR members emphasises that posting has become more common over the last few years, with the number of workers posted by employers to other Member States estimated at close to one million a year. Such practices are particularly widespread in Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Poland, especially in the construction and public works sectors.
Rapporteur Alain Hutchinson explained the arguments set out in his opinion: "My main concern is to raise the issue of the growing number of posted workers in the European Union who are victims of social dumping, with many of them being recruited solely in order to be posted. After over fifteen years since the first directive on posted workers and numerous judgements by the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the time has come to clarify and significantly improve the relevant legal provisions so that posted workers can benefit from social security and appropriate protection. That is why I am suggesting several amendments to the Commission's text."
The CoR is therefore proposing a series of specific amendments to the Commission's proposal for a revised directive, not least in order to cover posting from non-EU countries and to introduce a non‑regression clause guaranteeing that transposition of the directive will not reduce high levels of protection already existing at national level. The CoR is also calling for greater recognition of the territorial aspects of posting through closer cooperation between public authorities from different Member States, particularly in border regions. The plenary session also followed the rapporteur's suggestion to limit the number of sub-contracting tiers.
The opinion also welcomes the European Commission's withdrawal of the proposed regulation ("Monti II") on posted workers' right to take collective action. The CoR agrees with the twelve national parliaments which have contested the EU's powers to legislate on the right to strike, on the grounds of subsidiarity. Nevertheless, CoR members feel that withdrawal of this text has left a legal vacuum in European case law. They have therefore called on the European Commission to submit a new legislative proposal explicitly prioritising fundamental social rights (to collective bargaining and trade union action) over economic freedoms (right of establishment and freedom to provide services).
The CoR opinion was adopted at the same time as presentation of a first draft report to the European Parliament's employment committee on 28 November, giving rise to a very lively debate, particularly on how to deal with subcontracting. The European Parliament is scheduled to adopt an opinion on the proposal in May 2013.
Draft opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (the updated opinion will be available within the next few days)
The Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law infringes the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.
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