January 23rd, 2013 • Today thousands of workers from different EU member states demonstrated in Brussels for equal pay for equal work, regardless of nationality or country of origin.
Demonstrators from Dutch building workers union were amongst those present
Hundreds of Dutch trade unionists, as well as members of the SP, were amongst those attending the protest against ‘social dumping’, the practice of importing workers from low wage areas and, amongst other forms of exploitation, paying them less than the going rate in the host country. It was not the first demonstration against the stripping of social rights by Brussels, as Dennis de Jong, SP Member of the European Parliament, explains. 'I’ve long been making efforts to attack exploitation of workers in different sectors,’ says De Jong. ‘I recently proposed measures to address exploitation by means of box number companies’ – those which register in one member state to evade regulations in the one in which they are in reality established – ‘and I’ve also put forward concrete proposals to improve cooperation between national labour inspectorates.’
The SP is pleased that various actions have been taken in recent months in pursuit of a social Europe. 'From truck drivers to building workers, workers are letting it be heard, loudly and clearly, that they expect action from the EU to combat exploitation of workers and for protection of social rights,’ says De Jong.
The European Parliament is currently debating the proposal from the European Commission for enforcement of the posted workers’ directive, which is supposed to offer protection to workers employed by their firms outside their usual country of residence. The SP wants surveillance of the companies involved strengthened, and a more effective EU approach to the problem of abusive employment agencies operating on the European level. ‘Only in this way can exploitation be combatted and equal pay for equal work be achieved,’ says De Jong.