European Court of Justice undermines limits of labour migration

12 September 2014

European Court of Justice undermines limits of labour migration

A scaffolder from Turkey is employed in the Netherlands by a company from Germany. According to German rules they can work in the Netherlands. According to Dutch rules they can’t. The contractor was fined €264,000. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that they can indeed work here. In common with Employment Minister Lodewijk Asscher I’m extremely disappointed in the ECJ.

by Paul Ulenbelt, MP for the SP

European Court of Justice (photo Gwenael Piaser cc)

Until recently the Netherlands could determine for itself who from countries outside the European Union could and could not work here. An employer had to demonstrate that they could not find workers within the EU who could fill the vacancy. From the ECJ judgement it appears that the Netherlands has handed control over this to Brussels. An employment bureau from Poland can, for example, employ Russian workers in the greenhouses in Westland, in the Netherlands. ICT specialists from India could replace workers from Dutch ICT firms via Ireland, to take another example.

Liberals and social democrats celebrate the free movement of workers in Europe. They refuse to see that it has been set up precisely to make workers from different countries compete with each other, to put downward pressure on wages. The SP has argued for years that we must reclaim control of our own labour market, that we should determine for ourselves who from outside the country can and cannot work here.

There are no longer any borders and no longer any limits, the unions have established. We can no longer determine who can and can’t come here to work. ‘Striking at the roots of a decent labour market,’ says the minister

The minister must not leave it at mere words, but stand up to the EU, ignore the EU court’s judgment and collect the fine. The Netherlands must use its veto in the EU in order once again to take charge of our own labour market. The neoliberals in Brussels and Luxembourg will not determine who can work in the Netherlands. We can all get behind that..

You are here