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Type of text : Opinion
Type of referral : Government referral
Working group : Section for Labour and Employment
Date adopted : 22/09/2015 | Period : 2010-2015
The ESEC considers the posting of workers to be representative of the need to renew the European project, which must itself revive its objective of harmonisation of living standards and social security levels.
Without challenging the principle of freedom to provide services, the ESEC has observed that insufficient control over the exercising of this freedom has resulted in the weakening of the protection provided for workers (be they resident workers or posted workers), unfair competition between companies and insufficient cooperation between Member States. Such an imbalance may be perceived as symptomatic of the difficulties Member States are experiencing in ensuring that their economies converge for the purposes of social progress.
There is far more to tackling the issue of posting than is covered by the 2014 implementing directive granting greater leeway to enable host States to implement the necessary controls. Imbalances associated with this practice that have been observed in employment markets in European countries stem from shortcomings and a lack of consistency in European legislation.
Prospects for reforming the worker posting system at European level could take one of two non-mutually exclusive paths. The issue of revising the source directive, which left many Member States dissatisfied, was recently rekindled by a joint initiative on the part of seven European Union Ministries of Work and Employment, who approached the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. The ESEC believes this option to be a matter of priority. Aside from this initiative, however, it highlights the need to consolidate the legal systems relating to the posting of workers, which are currently split between European employment law and social security law.
On a national scale, meanwhile, there is still room to improve posting conditions, on an independent level, with regard to the way in which the information and control system is structured and encouraging greater involvement on the part of social partners and economic players in preventing fraud and abuse. Some of the following recommendations reflect this approach. Following the measures adopted by the legislator over the past year, they are designed to reflect the expectations of both social (employer organisations and labour organisations) and economic players who have taken action, in the most heavily affected of sectors, to condemn particularly unfair competitive conditions, social “optimisation” strategies and the resulting losses of both jobs and skills.
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