NHO skepticism to new rules for labour import

NHODirector of NHO, Kristin Skogen Lund.Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

The EU will tighten up the rules for outsourced workers. NHO Director Kristin Skogen Lund  prefers more flexibility.

The EU is now conducting final negotiations on a revision of the 1996 so-called ‘expatriation directive’. This means that new rules are forthcoming for about two million temporary workers who provide services in countries other than their home country.

The new rules can be problematic for Norwegian industry, fears the NHO Director Kristin Skogen Lund.

She specifically refers to the current proposal on the table to introduce a time limit for deployment. Today there is no such limit.

Concerned for short time limit
The European Commission presented its reform proposal in March last year. The Commission then proposed a 24-month deadline. After this, the labour rules in the country to which you are sent will be fully applicable.

France and several other Member States have, in turn, fought for a shorter time limit. On Monday evening, the EU Council of Ministers went for a compromise proposal that set the limit to a maximum of 18 months.

This is too short, says Skogen Lund. She had preferred a more generous limit of 36 months.

“We depend on the flexibility of this system, not least when it comes to building large ships and other installations as we do in Western Norway, often in quite small places that are entirely dependent on imported workers,” says Skogen Lund.

The NHO Director visited Brussels on a Tuesday in a seminar on employment issues with the chairman of the LO Hans-Christian Gabrielsen and State Secretary Christl Kvam (H) in the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs.
The LO believes reform can be a victory for the workers.

– This is an important step in the right direction. This will give posted workers better rights and increased protection, “said Gabrielsen.

According to him, the term “posted worker” has almost become synonymous with social dumping in recent years. The hope is that the new rules will help to overcome these problems.

Equal pay for equal work
The EU Commission’s overall objective of the reform proposal has been to ensure equal pay for equal work when the workplace is the same.

– It is fair for posted workers who deserve equal working conditions. And it is fair for local employees who do not want their wage levels to be undermined, “said EU Labour Commissioner Marianne Thyssen.

The matter has, however, split the EU deeply, and negotiations on the proposal are not yet fully in line.

It is especially member states in Eastern and Central Europe who have been skeptical. They think it is unfair if they will no longer be able to avail themselves of the competitive advantage of lower wage levels.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today