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Commission’s half-baked plans won’t lead to equal pay for equal work

8 March 2016

Commission’s half-baked plans won’t lead to equal pay for equal work

Foto: SP

European Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen today presents her long-awaited plans for amendment of the Posted Workers Directive to combat displacement and exploitation. The SP is not happy with her proposals, as Euro-MP Dennis de Jong explains. "Thyssen proposes that posted workers should have equal rights in relation to social security and pensions, but only after two years," he says. "Even if the employer obeys the law to the letter, this means that for the great majority of posted workers their social security and pensions will be set at levels prevailing in the country from which they have come. As a result they’ll remain as a rule much cheaper than local workers. In my view a posted worker should be getting precisely the same rights as a local after at most six months. Otherwise displacement on the labour market will simply continue."

The SP’s European Parliament team was able to see a leaked text of the proposals this morning, prior to their official unveiling. The above-mentioned points are not the only ones on which they disappoint. "The Commissioner has even proposed a deterioration of conditions," De Jong notes, "no longer referring to the minimum wage but to a wage level 'necessary for the protection of workers.' Apparently the expression 'minimum wage' has become taboo within the Commission and Thyssen must content herself with a meaningless formulation. In the European Parliament we are going to work hard against this and to secure workers’ rights."

On other points too the European Commissioner fails to hit the mark. "There's nothing here to put an end to the practise by employment agencies of opening a branch in a low-wage country, for example Romania, and using it to hire Dutch workers, as a result of which they are forced to accept lower levels of social security and pensions. Finally, the form of words regarding subcontractors needs tightening up a great deal. The proposed text is so weak that it will be extremely easy for subcontractors to dodge the obligation for equal pay for equal work. We cannot accept a measure which is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese."

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