De Jong demands improvements to monitoring of labour migration within EU

18 December 2012

De Jong demands improvements to monitoring of labour migration within EU

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong wants to see improved cooperation and exchange of information between national labour inspectorates within the EU. De Jong was joined by fellow MEP Sophie in ’t Veld of the centrist group D66 in calling for moves by the EU member states to drastically improve monitoring of migrant labour and combat abusive labour contractors working on the European level.

"Not just bilateral and ad hoc, but a system that guarantees that agreements are adhered to,’ explains In 't Veld. ‘Only then can a truly open European labour market be created, with equal opportunities and equal conditions.’ For his part De Jong pointed out that ‘small firms which want to abide by the rules are often driven from the market by unfair competition from abusive middle-men.’'

Free movement of workers

The European internal market offers freedom of movement for workers. In recent years, however, there have been increasing signs of exploitation, including in the Netherlands. Migrant workers are sometimes not, for example, paid according to local rates, which in the case of the Netherlands mean nationally-negotiated Collective Labour Agreements (CAOs). This results not only in poor working conditions and conditions of service for the migrants, with wages far below the minimum agreed rate for the particular job, but also in people-smuggling and forced labour. 'In the building trade, road transport and in the agricultural sector we are seeing too often serious abuses,’ says De Jong. 'Profiteers are getting away with this far too frequently. While workers often have to pay enormous sums for food and accommodation, they must in addition work long hours under appalling conditions.'


The SP and D66 agree that compliance with conditions of employment, including physical conditions in the workplace, must improve. ‘Freedom of movement for workers is one of the great achievements of European integration,’ says In ‘t Veld. ‘But effective enforcement of the agreed rules is a precondition for its success.’

Round Table

The European Parliament is today organising a round table discussion on this subject under the title “Labour Mobility and Improving Labour Inspections”. Speakers will include representatives of European trade unions and of labour inspectorates, and an official from the European Commission. The meeting is exceptionally timely, as not only have the national labour inspectorates recently made proposals themselves for more intensive cooperation, but the European Parliament is currently dealing with legislation in this area.

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