CESI speaks at hearing on posted workers in the Committee of the Regions

19 May 2016

Yesterday, CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger intervened at an expert hearing on the revision of the EU posting of workers directive in the Committee of the Regions.

CESI speaks at hearing on posted workers in the Committee of the Regions

The hearing was convened at the initiative of the Committee of the Regions’ Secretariat and Yoomi Renström, Swedish member of the Committee of the Regions in the PES group and rapporteur for an opinion on the recent proposal by the European Commission on a targeted revision of the EU’s posting of workers directive.

The hearing was attended by representatives from social partners concerned with posting of workers. The objective was to assess to what extent the European Commission’s proposal is useful to advance occupational non-discrimination between posted and ‘native’ workers.

Commission proposal can lead to some upward social convergence

During his intervention, Mr Heeger welcomed in particular that the Commission’s proposal foresees a time limit set to the maximum duration of posting, even if the suggestion to set the time limit to 2 years is too long. The currently applicable directive does not include specifications in this regard, which opens the door to abusive unlimited posting of workers by employers.

In principle, Mr Heeger also welcomed efforts by the Commission to make posting rules binding for temporary agency workers and to take remuneration as a benchmark to achieve equal pay for equal work for posted workers. The current directive refers merely to ‘minimum rates of pay’ which are applicable to posted workers. This is not as encompassing as referring to remuneration, which includes further worker benefits depending on applicable collective agreements  – and which is therefore a more effective concept to achieve true equal pay for equal work. However, Mr Heeger also stressed that practical questions remain. The Commission suggests to only take universally applicable collective agreements into consideration when determining remuneration components and levels. This is problematic given that these do not exist in all Member States and that sectoral agreements are sometimes more relevant than certain universally applicable ones.

Representatives from the employers were mostly against the Commission’s proposal, saying that existing rules should be properly enforced before revising them.

Expressing his confidence that the Commission’s proposal can lead to some upward social convergence in the EU, Mr Heeger said that the Commission should not give in to calls by a number of Member States and corporate lobby groups to withdraw the proposal.

Picture: CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger © CESI 2016