Posting of workers
Sec: Amélie Annet (send a mail)
Tel: +32 2 2240424
fax: +32 2 2240582
The judgements by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), notably in the Laval, Viking, Rüffert and Luxembourg cases, as well as the conflict at the Lindsey oil refinery in the United Kingdom at the end of January 2009, are evidence that worker mobility is a major issue for the future of the European Union (EU). The rules governing labour law need to take into account the fact that we are facing a labour market that is becoming increasingly Europeanised.
At a time when worker mobility is increasing across the EU27, the directive concerning the posting of workers is playing an essential role in terms of fair competition, respect for workers’ rights, labour law and industrial relations systems in Europe. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) supports worker mobility and takes the view that greater openness in the employment market in Europe demands a strict and fair structure within which workers occupy a central place. For this reason, ETUC is calling for a review of Council Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services.
ETUC calls for review of directive
In a speech at the Commission’s Forum on workers’ rights and economic freedoms on 9 October 2008, ETUC General Secretary John Monks emphasised the need for establishing and defending decent labour and living standards in an era of globalisation.
In ETUC’s view, the restrictive interpretations by the ECJ are not the only possible interpretation of the European Treaties, which have a clear social dimension that will be reinforced by the Lisbon Treaty.
In his speech on Workers’ rights and economic freedoms, John Monks called on the European Commission and the Council to look seriously at how the ECJ has interpreted the Posting of Workers Directive and urged the EU institutions to discuss whether this interpretation sufficiently reflects and accommodates the original objective of this Directive, as stated in its preamble: ‘(5) whereas (…) promotion of the transnational provision of services requires a climate of fair competition and measures guaranteeing respect for the rights of workers’. In so far as this is not the case, a review must be envisaged.
ETUC positions and resolutions
In May 2006, the ETUC Executive Committee adopted the ETUC position on the implementation of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services. The ETUC position traces the background to the posting directive and ETUC’s demands in this regard.
At the meeting of its Executive Committee on 4 March 2008, ETUC adopted an ETUC response to the ECJ judgements Viking and Laval. This resolution is partly devoted to the posting directive.
In April 2009, at its Steering Commitee meeting, ETUC adopted a Resolution on conditions for free movement: more protection of workers and fair competition, which outlines ETUC’s proposals to prevent further damage to the development of the internal market and its free movement principles.
In March 2010, at its Executive Committee meeting, ETUC adopted a Resolution on the Posting of Workers Directive: proposals for revision
In May 2010, the ETUC drafted the Final Report from the Expert Group
In December 2011, at its Executive Committee meeting, ETUC adopted a Resolution on Achieving social progress in the single market: proposals for protection of fundamental social rights and posting of workers
At its meeting in Brussels on 19 April 2012, the Steering Committee of ETUC adopted a declaration on the Commission proposals for a Monti II Regulation and Enforcement Directive of the Posting of Workers Directive.
In June 2012, at its Executive Committee meeting, ETUC adopted a position on the Enforcement Directive of the Posting of Workers Directive.
In a number of press releases, ETUC has called on the European Commission to be more proactive concerning the Posting of Workers Directive, so as to improve the level of application and implementation of the directive.