Posting of workers directive: a balanced agreement, now let’s focus on enforcement

The European Builders Confederation (EBC) welcomes yesterday’s approval of the compromise agreement on the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive by the Council. As a strong supporter of the needed revision of the original 1996 Directive, EBC is satisfied with this step forward that will improve the proper functioning of the internal market for construction SMEs and workers. In particular, EBC welcomes:

  • the attempt to prevent unfair competition through the inclusion of the elements of remuneration for posted workers;
  • the deletion of the 6-months rule for cumulative duration of posting;
  • the increased role given to Member States regarding the monitoring and control of implementation (e.g. highest importance of the single official national website);
  • the possibility given to Member States to apply specific collective agreements set at the local or sectoral levels;
  • the stress on improving cooperation between Member states.

Next to these positive developments, EBC regrets that the final agreement does not foresee any prior employment contractual relationship between the employee and the construction company before starting any posted activity in another country. Moreover, EBC considers that the sectoral social partners should have played a key role in fixing the posting duration according to the real situation in their sector of activity, instead of fixing a horizontal time limit of 12+6 months: genuine posting lasts on average 4 months in the construction sector. Finally, the agreement falls short on addressing the issue of hiring workers on an ad-hoc basis from interim agencies, too often with the only purpose to post workers to another country.

EBC President Patrick Liébus said: “Despite some shortfalls, this balanced agreement will improve the level playing field for construction SMEs as posted workers represent around 5% of the total construction workforce, more than 40% of all posted workers in the EU. When the revised posting of workers rules will be applicable in more than 2 years, it will be crucial to guarantee their proper application in the whole European Union. In the near future, we will also need to make sure to have a better EU enforcement system throughout the new European Labour Authority and the revision of the Directives on Coordination of Social Security Systems”.