The Commission’s opening of infringement procedures against 24 member states over failure to implement the Posting of Workers Directive underline the continued state of vulnerability of posted workers across the EU.
The rules, which were revised in 2018 and were meant to be in place by June 2020 at the latest, have lacked adequate enforcement leading to exploitation and the persistence of social dumping. Several cases of abuse of posted workers have been recorded by trade unions, particularly in the construction and agriculture sectors. Last month, five construction workers died in Belgium, all of them mobile workers, after a school construction site partially collapsed. In May 2020, the European Court of Justice rejected Hungary and Poland’s challenge to the revised Posting of Workers Directive, with an EU impact assessment revealing “substantial differences in remuneration” between local workers and posted workers in several host countries. Commenting on the launch of the procedures, Left MEP Nikolaj Villumsen (Enhedslisten, Denmark) urged for attention to be turned to enforcement of the rules: “Lack of protection of posted workers is, unfortunately, a reality all over Europe. Better respect for their rights is crucial to achieving a socially just Europe. This would mean strengthening the rules, but also for the few basic rights in the current Directive to be respected. “We urge the Commission and member states to strengthen enforcement by introducing a prior notification and a European Personal Labour Card to make sure that labour inspectors can verify that all posted workers are protected properly according to their entitlements,” Villumsen concluded.