The EU reported breakthroughs in the hard negotiations about the terms and conditions that apply to workers crossing borders.
The EU Member States have been in hard negotiations with the European Parliament and the EU Commission in recent months to bring about a settlement of the so-called ‘expatriation directive’.
Now, the negotiators have managed what they hope could be a final compromise.
“We believe the proposed package now on the table is balanced,” the dealers wrote in a joint statement.
They now promise to do their utmost to get all parties to accept the proposal.
Norway is covered
Two years have elapsed since the European Commission presented its original reform proposal. The directive applies to more than two million workers temporarily sent out of their home country to provide services.
The overall goal of the reform is to ensure equal pay for equal work when the work is carried out in the same place. But the case has severely split the EU member states.
“It’s a matter that has divided the EU for two years,” said Zornitsa Roussinova, State Secretary for Labour and Social Policy in Bulgaria, which holds the EU Presidency.
To the west, concern has been that current regulations lead to social dumping through imports of cheap labour from the east.
Several member states in Central and Eastern Europe have, in turn, been skeptical about the reform. They think it would be unfair if they no longer have the opportunity to take advantage of the competitive edge that a lower wage level gives.
In addition, the case has led to a split between the left and the right in politics, and between the labour movement and business organizations,Agnes Jongerius pointed out in the Dutch workers party, ‘PvdA’.
She believes the compromise now on the table ensures fair working conditions.
“This unity will give workers protection from day one, and put an end to the race for the bottom,” said Jongerius.
The compromise proposal must now be renewed in the European Parliament,and the Council of Ministers before the agreement can be concluded.Therefore, the dealers are advised to publicise the details.
Something is still known:
* All exceptions for posted workers shall cease after 12 months or a maximum of 18 months in special cases. After this, national rules shall apply in full.
* Member States have two years to introduce the new rules.
* Transport workers must continue to comply with the current regulations until specialisation has been introduced for the transport sector.
Difficult balance of payments
EU labour commissioner, Marianne Thyssen, believes that the negotiators have managed to take into account all parties in the discussion.
“As you know, this has been a difficult issue with many sensitive questions,different emotions and yellow cards,” said Thyssen.
“But today’s results show that by talking together and listening to each other, one can find a fair solution, provided that one does not lose focus. And our focus is justice for both employees and employers,” she said.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today