Marianne Thyssen went back on the offensive. Wednesday 20 July, the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs has officially confirmed its continued reform of the Directive on posted workers. The text aims to fight against “social dumping” by requiring posted workers, often from European countries at low cost, are paid by integrating the benefits of the legislation of the host country: the minimum wage, already in current directive, but also the 13 th month and all the various bonuses and bonuses linked to collective agreements and branch agreements. “We propose to apply the same rules of compensation for the same work in the same place. No more no less. Posted workers are not second-class workers, “hammered Marianne Thyssen. I am convinced that the mobility of workers is good for Europe. But we must ensure that the rules are fair to everyone. “
However, the Belgian commissioner is far from won. Its draft revision of the “Bolkestein” directive, dating from 1996, was shelled by 11 Member States, mostly from Eastern Europe (Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia , Bulgaria, Hungary, Denmark), who used the ‘yellow card’, to challenge the Commission the right to decide on this. These countries do not want to lose the “competitive advantage” of their workers low cost -in particular Poland, the first provider with 266,000 employees détachés- applying the benefits of the host countries. To be adopted, the reform of Marianne Thyssen must gather the qualified majority in the European Council, 55% of member states and 65% of the population. And a blocking minority may be exercised by a minimum of four states representing at least 35% of the population of the Union. In short, it is not won.
Unfair Competition of employees low cost
The offensive was launched under the pressure from France and Germany, the first two home countries of posted workers, denouncing the “unfair competition” of these employees low cost . Often times work rules and safety are not respected by their employers. And during the period of posting, social contributions are those in force in the country of origin, so weak. In early July, Manuel Valls had even threatened not to implement a “European device, which made major devastation, terrible. Social dumping is unbearable, “launched the Prime Minister.
In France, the subject is, in fact, become very controversial. First because of the massive movement of posted workers. In ten years, their number has increased tenfold, reaching 286,000 in 2015, a year that has seen an explosion of 25%! The proportion of posted workers even reached 59% for the construction of the LNG port of Dunkerque which EDF is the prime contractor and 30% for the construction of the Harmony of the Seas , the giant ocean liner that comes STX France to finish in Saint-Nazaire. So, political leaders have seized the subject, especially at the two extremes of the spectrum: the National Front, very anti-European, has made an axis of countryside and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate of the Left Party presidential, deplored “the posted worker who steals bread (sic) to workers who are on site.”
The debate will last. Because even if the reform Marianne Thyssen successful, it will be far from solving the social dumping of posted workers. First, the European Commission does not change the calculation of social contributions: a Polish employee seconded to France will continue to pay its contributions in Poland, Polish fare. Certainly in France, multiple cuts costs in the minimum wage have eliminated the difference in labor costs with countries low cost . According to the rapporteur of the budget, Valerie Rabault, a French worker the minimum wage does not cost more than a Polish or Portuguese. But for higher wages in demand shortage occupations, the gap remains significant.
Most importantly, social dumping is related to numerous frauds of employers who do not respect our labor law. Although legislation has been hardened (fine of 500,000 euros for non declaration of posted workers, responsibility outsourcer against the subcontractors, etc …), even if the controls have increased sharply (1,500 interventions month, according to the Ministry of Labour), fraud remains massive. And labor inspectors, who track these abuses, often feel “to skim the sea with a spoon.”