Setback for the right: European Parliament demands better controls on exploitation of workers

28 November 2013

Setback for the right: European Parliament demands better controls on exploitation of workers

Today the European Parliament Employment Committee adopted a report on measures to counter the exploitation of workers. Commenting on the report, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: ‘The two centre-right groups – both the ALDE and a large proportion of the EPP – in the European Parliament see checks by the labour inspectorate on companies registered abroad as a hindrance to freedom of movement within the EU. These parties evidently don’t find exploitation much of a problem. Fortunately we now have a report – in other words, the official opinion of the Parliament, provided it’s adopted at Plenary, which is likely – which is full of recommendations which would lead to a stepping up of the checks.’

Dennis de JongAccording to the report the spending cuts affecting the labour inspectorates implemented in the Netherlands as well as elsewhere in the EU must be reversed, fraudulent use of self-employed status to avoid social charges addressed, and the different services in the member states must cooperate more effectively. The EP also wants to see the drawing up of a blacklist of firms who make use of fraudulent self-employed status or registration via a box number to abuse social rights or avoid paying pension contributions and other social charges. Via an early warning mechanism, the transfrontier activities of fraudulent employment agencies must be tackled.

All of these proposals can also be found in the action plan which the SP drew up in response to abuses in the road transport industry. In June De Jong handed the first copy of this action plan to European Commissioner Siim Kallas. During the meeting with Kallas, the Commissioner promised De Jong and a broad coalition of like-minded Euro-MPs that before the end of the year specific measures would be brought forward to deal with social abuses in road transport. ‘I was led to believe by Kallas that work would be done on an action plan’, said De Jong, adding that ‘the EP report should prove an inspiration in this.’ The report must still be approved at Plenary, as De Jong explains. ‘The chance that it will be diluted isn’t great,’ he says, ‘because it’s not a legislative report, but resistance from the centre-right groups, the ALDE and the EPP, is so great that you can’t rule anything out in advance. We’ll have to be vigilant.’

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