Euro Posting

Posting of workers:
Actors’ viewpoint

Viewpoint of construction sector employers

Sensitising - Informing - Supporting


Information is one of the central elements for ensuring the respect of legislative provisions in general, and, in particular, of provisions concerning the posting of workers, where the transnational aspect creates an additional difficulty.
Therefore, it is important that the different players – employers, employees and controlling bodies – have access to this information, which must be easy to find, precise, understandable and reliable.
Before posting, employers must be aware of the administrative steps to be taken and the legislative provisions to be followed in the host country. If necessary, they must be able to verify information concerning an employer in another member state with whom they might wish to collaborate.
Employees must be aware of their rights as concerns working conditions in the country to which they will be posted.
Before any posting operation, organisms in charge of verification must know which company will be coming to their territory, for how long, where, with which workers and so on. They must also be able to have access to information concerning a company and its employees in their country of origin.
This is why construction sector employers:
  • Favour the support of initiatives by social partners as concerns access to information (e.g., the FIEC-EFBWW website)
  • Encourage Member States to implement systems which notify before posting takes place.
  • Encourage public authorities to actively collaborate in the development of existing tools for the exchange of information (e.g., the IMI systems, the internal market information system or EESSI, which is the system for the electronic exchange of social security information) or bilateral agreements with the possibility for service providers to use these information channels to verify certain data concerning a potential partner or other Member State. The development of these tools should be continued and completed with an automation of the transmission of certain information. Over the longer term, the interconnection of national business registries would also be very useful, both for service providers and for controlling bodies. This should, of course, be done while ensuring the protection of personal data.
  • Favour the idea of a "single window" for accessing information, as suggested in the proposal for a directive related to the "execution of the Posting directive" and, in addition to initiatives by social partners, emphasize that public authorities are mainly responsible for making this information available.

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The role of social partners


Employer representatives have an important role to play with respect to legislators, to their respective members and to their employee representatives.
With respect to legislators, it is primordial to develop a dialogue as far upstream as possible to ensure that measures which will be taken are appropriate to the goals to be reached, as well as to the specificities of each sector, and that they can effectively be applied by those who must ensure they are followed.
In particular, this is why Article 154 of the EU Treaty makes it mandatory for the European Commission to consult with social partners at the European level in a number of areas.
On the national level, social dialogue also plays an essential role because it enables social partners to develop and implement instruments which are appropriate and adapted to the specificities of each country.

Together, the social partners can also develop initiatives and their corresponding tools, which can then be taken into account more easily by their respective members.

In light of the issues of posting and the combat against undeclared work, on the national level, this collaboration has given rise in several countries to different measures, such as the creation of verification cards for accessing worksites or, at the European level, to the website developed by FIEC and EFBWW, which are social partners for the construction sector.
Finally, collaboration between social partners in most Member States in Western Europe also takes the form of "matched social funds" (unfortunately, this type of fund is almost nonexistent in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, except for Romania). Through these bodies, it is also possible to develop tools which enable supervising construction companies on the national market and, through bilateral agreements with similar bodies in other member states, supervising cross-border operations. Construction sector employers support the development of funds like these in countries where they do not yet exist (mainly in Central and Eastern Europe).

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The EFFAT Viewpoint


The project carried out with INTEFP is part of a long-standing study by the EFFAT agricultural sector on mobility and illegal work. The three-part framework has enabled enlarging the perspective to other sectors, as well as obtaining more in-depth knowledge on the posting of workers. Discussions have been very productive and have enabled establishing a shared outlook between countries which send and those which receive migrant employees.
Agriculture is the sector which employs the greatest number of migrants in Europe, approximately have of four million seasonal workers. Agriculture is also known as a sector with a very high rate of undeclared work.

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The relevance of posting for agricultural employment in Europe


We have been concerned with this question throughout the study.

Indeed, the different forms of posting are not relevant to agriculture:
  • Provision of services does not exist for seasonal work. In France, verifications by the Labour Inspectorate of agricultural companies have shown that, in reality, situations are based on illegal labour subcontracting.
  • Posting through the intermediary of temporary work companies has appeared in the last few years in France and is undergoing strong growth.

Discussion has brought to light the fact that other partner countries do not know about this type of employment in agriculture. In addition, agricultural operations in France have never called on temporary work companies inside France, which are more expensive than direct hiring.
This type of employment appeared with foreign companies which are specialised in transnational placement. Indications point to the fact that this is in reality a specific arrangement to avoid controls and to better hide certain abuses, such as non- or under-declared work or payment below the minimum wage and collective bargaining agreements.
We have observed that trade union organisations and supervisory services have great difficulty in grasping the situation of employees. In most cases of extra-Community origin, they are vulnerable, isolated and do not speak French well.
Under these conditions, it is impossible for the trade unions to establish contact with them.

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Transnational control and coordination


Discussions have allowed observing that the coordination of work between services does not function well, although progress has been made and is continuing to be made.
This is because certain countries do not respond to the requests of their counterparts or do so in an incomplete way only.
Is it a coincidence that these same countries are the ones which habitually offer a framework of social or fiscal optimisation?
We have also observed that the means available to trade unions and supervisory bodies are insufficient to respond to these complex situations, especially in a context of budgetary constraints.
In conclusion : Throughout Europe, agricultural employment is a matter of a direct relationship between employers and employees. If there is posting, this is because of the ease with which legislation can be circumvented.
Better coordination between social and supervisory partners cannot compensate for inadequate national and European legislation on posting and undeclared labour.

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The role of social partners and government authorities


The European Union of 27 countries has given rise to the freedom to travel and work within an area where there are major differences in income.
Social partners and the government have a key role to play in building an effective economic area with coordinated and harmonised social regulations for competition which prevent social dumping.
For fifty years, we have had a European social dialogue for agriculture which is supported by the European Commission.

In this context, we provide support for social partners in the new member countries to develop their national social dialogue by sector. Constructive social dialogue ensures social regulation, limits the negative consequences of mobility and promotes economic development.
Within this framework, we also develop ways to facilitate and secure the mobility of migrant employees:
  • A computerised transnational placement platform is being developed. It should allow establishing contacts based on skills and aptitude between an employer and a job applicant from a different country. This service will be included in EURES, the platform for coordinating European governmental placement services.
  • An Agripass for seasonal workers should enable securing their activity by keeping a record of their professional experience. It could be completed by tracking the situation of workers with respect to their social protection and retirement rights.

Two Internet platforms with information on the rights of seasonal migrants have been created by EFFAT: Agripass and Agri info.
The sharing of means within a dual or three-part framework would undoubtedly enable improving these platforms.
Finally, another challenge for the different participants, government services, employer organisations and trade unions is to build a European and transnational action framework.
The FGA and Podkrepa project is one example of this, and the relations between supervisory services in the context of this project is another.

In conclusion :

We cannot leave transnational placement in the hands of placement companies based on social and fiscal optimisation. The legal framework of posting currently offers them the possibility of taking advantage of the differences between countries to avoid supervision.

EFFAT feels that the creation of a European labour market and the securing of migrant activity is the affair of the government and the social partners and that maintaining social dialogue is the appropriate way to do this.
The longevity of our European social model rests on the success of this mission.

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