This week, the new Posting of Workers Directive was adopted with a clear majority by the plenary of the EU Parliament. By casting 456 yes votes to 147 no votes with 49 abstentions, MEPs have adopted the result of the trilogue negotiations. The adopted reform includes some elements, which represent improvements in the fight against wage and social dumping. However, deficiencies still exit, in particular in view of implementing the rights of the Posting of Workers Directive. Hence, the negotiations on establishing a European Labour Authority are all the more important.
Given the fact that the negotiations on the Reform of the Posting of Workers Directive have almost continued for 28 months, EP co-rapporteurs Agnes Jongerius (S&D) and Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (EPP) expressed their satisfaction with the clear vote. It had been clearer than was expected even in the best-case scenario, concluded MEP Jongerius; however, not without pointing out that it was now also vital to finalise other important dossiers (in particular the Working Conditions Directive, European Labour Authority) before the end of this legislative period. Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen too underlined that the significance of the agreement should not be underestimated. MEP Morin-Chartier reminded that the compromise had been achieved in spite of the initial rejection by 11 Member States.
Votes of MEPs in the plenum of the EU Parliament
MEPs of S&D and EPP factions generally welcomed the negotiation result, whereas ALDE MEPs were divided. In view of the ongoing negotiations on postings in the transport sector (lex specialis), MEP Regner (S&D) demanded to also include HGV drivers in the scope of the Posting of Workers Directive. The ECR faction claimed that the compromise would undermine the position of businesses and represent overregulation. MEPs of the Green and Left faction recognised positive elements in the Directive; however, even the new Directive would not succeed in preventing wage and social dumping. The EFDD faction paradoxically suggested solving the problem of cross-border wage and social dumping at national level.
AK: Step in the right direction, implementation requires improvement
From the point of view of employees, the new Posting of Workers Directive includes some improvements [in particular the cost coverage for travel, board and lodging by the employer (however, with reference to the national law of the country of origin), reference to the protection of employees and the Monti Clause]. However, some significant problems remain unsolved, in spite of the present agreement (for details see our summary of the trilogue negotiations).
However, there is hope concerning the problem of insufficient enforcement of the rights of the Posting of Workers Directive, that the situation may be remedied by establishing a European Labour Authority and by furnishing this authority with appropriate competencies. In a comprehensive Position Paper, Chamber of Labour makes a number of recommendations as to how the proposal, presented by the Commission in March 2018, could be made more effective. Next week (7 June 2018) AK EUROPA together with the Brussels Offices of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), will devote an event in Brussels to the topic, where labour representatives and European decision-makers will discuss the EU Labour Authority (to the events programme for 7 June 2018 and registration).