EU Employment Committee taking decisive action

With next European Parliament elections already in sight, the Employment Committee of the EP is gearing up to adopt important legislation in the areas of “posting” of workers, jurisdiction in employment disputes between employees and employers and trans-national collective bargaining.

At the latest meeting on 29-30 May, the Committee declared its intention to finalise the work on these important subjects despite the ideological differences, which were still heating the discussions. Following the failure to adopt new rules on working time and fundamental workers’ rights, the Committee acknowledged the importance of the Posting of Workers Directive, which regulates the temporary posting of workers in other EU countries. The on-going discussion is mainly focused on the control measures and the liability issues in case of subcontracting but Parliamentarians declared commitment to reach consensus. The lack of certainty around the status of temporary (posted) workers in Europe is a very pressing issue which had triggered, among others the Ryanair Marseille court case over alleged labour law breach.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the establishment of trans-national collective bargaining, i.e. across national borders and jurisdictions. The EU Parliament is keen to promote social dialogue with companies at European level but the debate showed how challenging it will be to set up a legal framework that would enable such dialogue. 

The Employment Committee further discussed a Parliamentary initiative to clarify jurisdiction applicable to employment disputes. This area was left out by the Commission and the Council of Ministers last year when revising the general law on jurisdiction – the “Brussels Convention” – but now the Parliament has shown interest in filling this gap. 

ECA considers progress in these areas absolutely necessary for getting close to the establishment of a true social Europe where companies can operate respecting the rights of their employees.