MEPs voted yesterday to adopt the posting of workers directive, which deals with enforcement of the rules when businesses send workers to another EU country for a temporary period. Under the new rules there will be a clearer definition of posted workers to combat bogus-self-employment and other forms of abuse, so as to ensure that home country governments remain responsible for the welfare provision of workers posted abroad.
The European Commission estimates that there are around 1 million workers posted each year in the EU. The UK sends around 38,000 workers each year, primarily in the services sector, and receives around 37,000 per year across different sectors including health, finance and manufacturing.
European Labour and Greens pushed for damaging measures which would have limited the single market in services and introduced heavy-handed liability for contractors across all EU countries. These proposals were adopted as the Parliament’s position back in July, despite strong opposition from Liberal Democrats.
During the negotiations between Parliament and EU national ministers, Phil Bennion MEP employment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament ensured that these damaging proposals were rejected in favour of a more balanced approach. This approach took UK ministers from blocking the text to supporting it.
This balanced outcome was voted yesterday in the Parliament and received overwhelming support. A last-ditch attempt by Labour MEP Stephen Hughes to re-table the damaging proposals was also rejected.
Commenting, Phil Bennion said:
“This deal strikes a good balance between the protection of posted workers and opening up the EU’s single market in services, the sector that provides the biggest potential for future growth in Europe.
“Labour and the Greens wanted the UK to completely turn its liability regime for subcontracting on its head, which would have required massive and unnecessary changes to our legal system.
“This just shows that Labour do not have British interests at heart in Europe, and that the way to get the best deal for Britain is to have Liberal Democrat MEPs at the table.
“But it also shows the importance of having a say in the EU so we can stand up for British interests. As this is a single market measure, we would have had to comply even if we were outside the EU in order to maintain free trade.
“Leaving Europe would mean losing influence over important decisions that affect British workers and the British economy.”
Notes to editors
The Directive was passed with 474 votes in favour
The full text can be found here
According to government figures the UK sends around 38,000 posted workers receives around 37,000 per year