In the context of the INFO-POW project on national communication streams on posting for companies and workers, the European Labour Authority (ELA) hosted the final INFO-POW conference and upscaling event in its headquarters in Bratislava on 17 January 2024. EBC was invited to react to the main findings in the closing session of the conference, with in this occasion EBC Board member Miriam Bellušová from the Slovak craft industry federation SŽZ representing construction SMEs and crafts.
Co-founded by the European Social Fund+, INFO-POW is dedicated to identifying and assessing existing and recent challenges in needs of construction companies in accessing and using reliable information streams on how to post workers and the obligations thereof, with an initial focus on Austria, Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Coordinated by the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, an intergovernmental organisation affiliated to the United Nations, the initiative was built around studies stating that despite the existence of information provided through public or private different channels, information is insufficient and difficult to access by construction companies, while the degree of real use of those existing channels of information by posting companies remains unclear.
In that context, INFO-POW has the ambition to fill a gap in the understanding of how posting companies and workers find and use information in their interaction with national institutions and how that affects their overall performance in terms of the correct application of the posting rules and the protection of labour and social standards. INFO-POW then focuses on the specific case of the construction sector as the main sector where posting occurs, and where both larger companies and SMEs as well as self-employed are active.
In her remarks, Mrs Bellusova confirmed that considering the size of the company is key when investigating experiences, needs, preferences, and barriers, considering that small construction companies rely less on public authorities’ channels than larger companies according to the national findings in the targeted countries. She added that information on rules, rights, obligations, entitlements, procedures, sanctions, and relevant institutions needs to be synthetic and to the point, while confirming that information by word of mouth is still very relevant, especially for small companies, although digital tools are gaining space.
When talking about future steps for INFO-POW, she mentioned that it could be interesting to repeat the exercise in all EU Member states, insisting on the need of identifying the most effective language in local construction sites. She concluded by suggesting that ELA could have a role in clarifying the constellation of channels available, to avoid confusion and rationalise communication streams on posting of workers.
The ELA also shared its take on the needs and gaps in access to information in posting and ELA activities in this area, while announcing the ongoing development of an information web tool on labour mobility, a feasibility study on an information helpdesk and further analyses on mobile workers and their employers. For instance, the ELA web tool ambitions to establish a single-entry point that aggregates existing information from different sources, uses artificial intelligence and is available in multiple languages to better channel information.
|For more information on the INFO-POW project, click here