FIEC welcomes posting agreement

By Sandy Guthrie11 December 2013

An “important step” in the issue of posting of workers – the moving of EU workers, on a temporary basis, from the Member State were they usually work to another Member State – has been hailed by FIEC (the European Construction Industry Federation).

FIEC said it welcomed the efforts of the Lithuanian EU Presidency which have led this week to an agreement in the EPSCO (employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs) Council on a general approach regarding the proposed Directive on Enforcement of Posting.

Thomas Schleicher, FIEC president, said, “This agreement is an important step in the fight against social fraud and abuses in the field of posting of workers, which is seriously affecting those companies that comply with the legislation, as well as employment in our sector.”

The text approved by the EPSCO Council allows Member States to impose administrative requirements and control measures that are necessary for ensuring the effective compliance with the obligations set in the Posting Directive (96/71/EC), but also the possibility of applying other measures should the need arise because of new developments.

“Construction SMEs and larger firms affiliated to FIEC have always considered the initially-proposed closed list of control measures as inadequate. In order to be able to undertake effective controls, Member States need some flexibility, limited by prohibition of abusive and discriminatory use of such measures.

“The only way to achieve this is an open list of control measures, such as the two Social Partners of the European construction industry, FIEC and EFBWW (the European Federation of Building & Woodworkers), have been requesting since the beginning of the legislative procedure,” he added.

Looking at what FIEC described as another controversial issue, the joint liability of the main contractor and sub-contractors, it said that while making it mandatory for the construction sector, the EPSCO Council also allowed those Member States that did not have such a system, and/or that did not want to introduce one, to apply alternative measures for achieving the same goals.

Schleicher said that builders, SMEs and larger construction firms were prepared also to bear responsibility for their direct sub-contractors, provided they proved their compliance with existing legislation.

“This responsibility can take the form of joint liability schemes, as is currently the case in eight Member States, but it can also be achieved through alternative measures,” said Schleicher.

FIEC is encouraging the Council and European Parliament to conclude the forthcoming negotiations as soon as possible, continuing their efforts to improve further the proposed Enforcement Directive.

Specific issues requiring urgent action, said FIEC, included closer administrative collaboration, bogus self-employment, and the clarification that in case of fake posting, it was the entire relevant host country legislation that was applicable.

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