Social affairs: EBC invited to European Labour Authority meeting on engagement with social partners  

On 14 December, the European Labour Authority (ELA) organized a meeting in Brussels to continue the direct exchanges with sectorial social partners at European level. On this occasion, EBC was invited, together with FIEC and EFBWW, to express the considerations of the construction sector.

Entitled “The ELA and the engagement with social partners”, this meeting gathered around 30 representatives of the agriculture, aviation, road transport, railway, and construction sector, to take stock of ELA activities in 2022 and discuss the program for the coming years.

On construction, ELA has been working on an analytical report on the sector and organised a seminar on tackling undeclared work in supply chains in 2022. For the future, ELA has decided to focus on its action plan for construction in 2023, as the sector is the largest industrial employer in the EU and has the highest number of posted workers.

On the basis of a dedicated workshop held last July, ELA has identified that the main challenges in construction concern data collection, increasing the number of concerted and joint inspections and information exchange/cooperation between Member States, wage differences, long subcontracting chains, temporary work agencies, third-country nationals, bogus self-employment, undeclared work, cross-border social fraud, letterbox companies, unfair competition, administrative burden in some Member States, public procurement, language barriers and lack of information, as well as the increasing need to visit construction sites.

In line with its mandate and its 2023-2025 program, ELA has already planned a series of actions in the construction sector to facilitate information and knowledge, improve cross-border enforcement of the rules, enable cooperation and information, and contribute to capacity building.

To this end, in 2023, the Authority intends, among others things, to carry out an awareness raising campaign in the construction sector, organise an exchange forum for National Liaison Offices on posting, conduct concerted or joint inspections, evaluate the social ID cards as a tool for tackling undeclared work, improve cooperation between Member States and strengthen the capacity of national authorities in the areas of labour mobility and social security coordination, or promote digitalization and use of existing digital tools. A detailed action plan for 2023 will be finalised early next year, after consultation of the main representatives of the construction sector, including EBC.

EBC has always closely followed issues arising from gaps in social legislation, which have a critical impact on construction SMEs and their workers. Therefore, EBC welcomes the willingness of ELA to focus on the construction sector, in order to assess the current state of affairs, particularly regarding posting. EBC members and the Secretariat look forward to continuing to work together throughout 2023, bringing the perspective of their craftsmen and micro, small and medium-sized construction companies.

Established in 2019, the European Labour Authority (ELA) is based in Bratislava and has a mission to assist Member States and the European Commission in ensuring that EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination are enforced. ELA also has a key role to play in facilitating and ensuring effective labour mobility in Europe, through the activities of the European Employment Services (EURES), given the strategic importance of the free movement of workers and services in the European Union.