MEPs approve new rules for posted workers which will tackle undercutting of wages

MEPs approve new rules for posted workers which will tackle undercutting of wages

30 May 2018

One of the common complaints about freedom of movement in the EU has been the practice of unscrupulous employers who bring in workers from another EU country and undercut local wages. A few weeks ago I wrote here about how national governments in the EU had supported calls from MEPs for new rules that would help stop this practice and protect ‘posted workers’ – these are workers who are sent by their employers from one EU country to work in another on a temporary basis.

These calls took a significant step forward yesterday when MEPs approved new rules for posted workers that will ensure they receive the same pay for the same work as local workers in the area they have been sent to. They were approved by MEPs in the sitting of the European Parliament this week in Strasbourg and national governments will have 2 years to implement them into national law.

Under this policy, the country in which the worker has been temporarily posted must now be entitled to the same pay rules as the rest of the workforce in that area – ensuring that posted workers receive the same pay for the same work as local workers. This means employers will no longer be able to bring in workers from other EU countries and undercut local wages.

The new rules also go further to improve their rights and conditions: travel and accommodation costs must be paid for by the employers and not deducted from the worker’s salary, accommodation conditions must be decent and the length of time a posted worker can be sent to another EU country will now be set at a maximum of 12 months.

In approving these rules, MEPs have demonstrated once more that the EU is a force for good in improving working conditions across Europe. From this policy on posted workers, to the Working Time Directive limiting working hours, the Part-Time Workers Regulations protecting part-time employees from discrimination or the Temporary Agency Work Directive ensuring equal treatment for temporary and agency staff – the EU has continually protected workers’ rights and conditions.

The Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament – to which Labour MEPs sit – have long campaigned on this issue of posted workers and you can read their response to these new rules here. There is more information about the rules approved by MEPs on the European Parliament website here

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