At the core of the legislation on posted workers, in other words workers who are temporarily posted abroad to provide services, is the goal of putting an end to abuses of the system, improving cooperation among Member States and enhancing the protection of workers.
László Andor, the Commissioner responsible for putting forward the legislation, stated that the legislation makes “meaningful improvements on many fronts: workers will be better protected, businesses will have more transparency, greater clarity and a more even playing field on the single marker.”
There was disagreement in the plenary however as to the level of protection the measures ensure, with some calling for a new Directive to be put forward which ensures equal treatment, regardless of nationality. Without this equality, it was argued, workers are not employed on the basis of skills, but rather on the basis of how little they are willing to work for just to secure a job.
The end goal, putting an end to social dumping, is are from being achieved according to S&D MEP Jutta Steinruck, with only cosmetics improvements being made to workers’ rights through this Directive. Green MEP Marije Cornelissen said that the legislation “will not save the world”.
Despite the objections, the European Parliament followed the words offered by Dimitris Kourkoulas, Greek European Affairs Minister: “Without saying this is the ideal text, this is a strong step forward for social Europe.”
Big or small, and MEPs will continue to disagree on this well into the next mandate, the European Parliament did take a step for social Europe by voting in favour of the Directive.