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Equal pay for equal work not an EU priority

February 9th, 2012 • The European Commission’s proposal aimed at preventing abuse of workers from outside the member state in which they are employed has once again been postponed. The proposal would have ensured a better functioning of the posted workers’ directive, as it is known. Commenting on the postponement, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong explains that “the Commission is now extremely divided over the earlier leaked text. It’s clear that for some Commissioners the rights of workers are not a priority. The SP wants to see the Commission opt plainly and simply for equal pay for equal work.”

The SP and the trade union movement have fundamental criticisms in relation to the posted workers’ directive and want to see a wholesale revision of the measure. The SP has recently received information that the Commission was not prepared to change a word of the directive itself, but would be bringing forward a proposal to make member states responsible for preventing exploitation of workers from other parts of the EU, including by taking more effective action against abusive employment bureaux.

“This delay will have major consequences for the Netherlands where there are big problems with such bureaux,” says De Jong. “I get a lot of e-mails from people who are annoyed that jobs are being taken by people who are being paid below the minimum wage, which is against Dutch law. These recruitment agencies often work at the European level and only concerted action by the member states can address the problem. That’s why this Commission’s proposal is so important.”

Only in response to a proposal from the European Commission can the European Parliament take action in favour of equal pay for equal work and to ensure that any measure would also apply to posted workers.

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