Following months of intensive negotiations on the Posting of Workers Directive, a large majority of MEPs were able to agree on a compromise to amend the Directive. With a clear majority of 32 to 8 votes, the MEPs of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) in the European Parliament adopted the report by Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP) and Agnes Jongerius (S&D). This includes several positive points, which are designed to prevent wage and social dumping at the expense of posted employees. However, there was no majority for reducing the maximum period of posting as well as for the commitment that the Posting of Workers Directive would also have to be applied from the first day for all employees working in road freight transport.
Equal rights for equal work in the same place – this is the fundamental principle, based on which amending the Posting of Workers Directive shall provide for more fairness on the European Labour market. In concrete terms, the report by Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP) and Agnes Jongerius (S&D) clarifies that it shall no longer be possible to deduct the cost for travel and accommodation in the other country from salaries and wages. As this has been possible until now, posted workers had been confronted with massive deductions from their monthly remuneration.
Another important point is the clarification that all collective agreements have to be applied. This is especially important for the Austrian labour market with its high density of employment contracts to ensure that these have to employ also to foreign companies to avoid giving them an unjustified competitive advantage. Member States are required to operate a dedicated official website to enable employees and employers to download current collective agreements.
The Committee was not able to secure a majority for reducing the maximum period of posting. In its proposal, the Commission had suggested a maximum period of posting of 24 months. During the preliminary stages, labour representatives supported a significantly shorter time span, as in practice the average period of posting is less than six months. However, it is exactly this point, where different positions not only exist in Parliament, but also at Council level: The French President Emmanuel Macron demanded on several occasions to reduce the maximum period of posting to 12 months - a demand, which is also supported by other Member States. Hence, one may expect further intensive discussions within the scope of the trilogue negotiations between Parliament, Commission and Council.
Unfortunately, the report by the Committee does not provide for the Posting of Workers Directive to be expressly applied to employees of road transport from day one. Instead, a special position will be granted due to the high mobility of road transport employees. This is an indication that a special regulation will be created for cross-border transport, which the Commission presented within the scope of the Mobility Package at the end of May 2017. According to this, the Posting of Workers Directive in case of cross-border transport will only be applied if the employee works at least four days of a calendar year in another Member State.
The Chamber of Labour sees no reason to create a special regulation for this profession and not to apply the rules on posting from day one. There is massive competition at the expense of employees especially in the transport industry. Not being able to apply national regulations before the fourth day within a calendar month, leads to a clear competitive advantage of companies in low-wage countries. Using intelligent tachographs and online downloadable collective agreements would also make it possible to apply and to control the Posting of Workers Directive in the road transport industry.
The vote on the final position of the European Parliament on the Posting of Workers Directive has been scheduled to take place on 26 October in Strasbourg, prior to the start of trilogue negotiations with Commission and Council.