Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Macron: posted workers directive is "a betrayal" of the European spirit

Slovak PM Robert Fico and French President Emmanuel Macron Slovak PM Robert Fico and French President Emmanuel Macron
Garry Little | 25 August, 2017, 01:21

"In Salzburg, I declared the strong interest of the Czech Republic to be present at the discussion about the future of Europe and also to influence it", Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Twitter after meeting Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron is starting his first official visits to Central and Eastern Europe, heading on Thursday and Friday to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, and to Varna, on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast. A meeting with the Czech and Slovak leaders was anticipated for the end of yesterday afternoon in the Austrian city. Macron has criticised the two countries repeatedly for harming the unity of the EU. She then arrived in Bucharest, Romania today in a navy minidress and matching jacket to meet with President Klaus Iohannis and his wife Carmen.

While Hungary and Poland criticised the proposed European Union directive about workers posted overseas, labelling it protectionist, Slovakia is in agreement with France that the European Union needs a rule that workers posted overseas should earn salaries equal to those in the country they are working in.

The prime ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the president of France said at a joint news conference after a meeting in Salzburg on Wednesday that the European Union should find agreement by October on the form of a directive on so-called posted workers.

Some labor market experts have argued that it's a mistake to just isolate posted workers.

Macron wants to require companies to pay posted and local workers the same salaries and limit postings overseas to up to one year. They say this results in unfair competition, so-called "social dumping".

Last year, the European Commission proposed new rules to regulate posted workers and create a "level playing field". In May, Macron promised to curb untaxed and uninsured Eastern European labour in France, blaming the United Kingdom and "ultra-liberal" EU member states for social dumping practices.

Eastern and central European governments say Macron's proposals go too far and will undercut their competitiveness.

Following the social dumping argumentation, EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen announced in June an overhaul of how long truck drivers can work under the home of origin regime when traveling between EU member states.

The European directive for posted workers, as it is now applied, is "a betrayal of the fundamental aspects of the spirit of European legislation".

Universally binding collective agreements would apply to posted workers in all sectors.

Under the new rules, posted workers would be entitled to the same remuneration as local workers, including bonuses, allowances and overtime rates.


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