MEMBERS of the European Parliament’s Employment Committee have voted to improve labour rights for workers posted overseas – especially those working under complicated ‘subcontracting’ arrangements.
Considering the EU ‘Posting Directive’ they voted to address some of the major problems with existing rules, and adopted Green Party proposals backed by the European TUC to allow government to inspect all employment details to ensure all workers’ rights are being upheld.
The new rules – which will now be negotiated with EU governments meeting as EU Council and could become law by the end of 2014 – will help detect so-called ‘letterbox’ companies set up simply so employers can avoid treating overseas staff properly and stop bogus self-employment arrangements where workers are required to declare that they are self-employed and therefore responsible for their own income and working conditions.
London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert voted for the proposals as a member of the Employment and Social Affair Committee.
She said: “Our vote today sends a strong signal to the one million ‘posted workers’ in the EU – many here in London – and shows that the we are ready to fight to end the ways in which employers try to exploit them.
“The proposals now on the table will tackle the increasingly-prevalent bogus self-employment schemes, ‘letterbox’ companies, and other scams designed to deny workers their rights.
“Greens welcome this vote to close these loopholes and use sanctions, controls and better international co-operation to reinforce rights for all overseas workers – wherever they come from and wherever they are working.
“A further big step forward is the fact that committee voted in favour of obliging member states to introduce a system of Joint and Several Liability for posting companies. Greens have always called for this, as it will ensure that subcontracting chains can’t be abused to circumvent the law and exploit workers.”
She added: “This is especially relevant here in London, home to many thousands of workers from across the EU, many of them temporarily ‘posted’ here by multinational employers.”