World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Posted Workers Directive

 

Posted Workers Directive

The EU Posted Workers Directive (96/71/EC) is an EU directive concerned with the free movement of workers within the European Union. It makes an exception to the Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations 1980, which ordinarily requires that workers are protected by the law of the member state in which they work.

After a controversial set of decisions by the European Court of Justice, the Directive has come under criticism for reducing rights of posted workers and undermining the rights of workers in a home nation.

Contents

  • Overview 1
    • Case law 1.1
  • 2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery strikes 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4

Overview

The Directive aims to clarify competing claims of competence in the case of staff being sent abroad by their employer for a project (posting), between the rules governing labour relations in the country of origin of the employing service provider and the country where the work is actually carried out (but where the staff is not normally based). If the laws of the country where the work is actually being carried out applied even for short stays, a company wishing to offer its services in the whole of the EU would have to be aware of 27 different sets of rules. This would be a burden in particular for SMEs which would discourage them from taking advantage of the EU's Internal Market. To counter this phenomenon, the European Court of Justice has developed a balancing mechanism on the basis of the Treaty that determines which country's rules apply in a given situation. However, this case-by-case approach generates legal uncertainty which is tackled by this Directive.

In order to protect workers from one EU country who are sent by their employer to carry out work in another temporarily,[1] the Directive provides that a 'hard core' of rules of the host country (country of destination) needs to be observed. The Directive was first adopted in 1996.[2]

The directive applies where,

  • a company agrees to provide a service to a client in another Member State and needs to send staff there in order to carry out this work
  • a worker is posted to another country through arrangements within a group of companies, with the parent and subsidiaries based in different member states
  • a worker is posted through an agreement between an employer and an employment agency

The member state hosting a posted worker must ensure he is protected by the minimum standards in article 3(1). These are,

  • working time (hours, holidays, pay)
  • standards applicable to agency workers
  • health and safety
  • pregnancy and maternity protection
  • discrimination law
  • in the building and construction trades, collective agreement standards that 'have been declared universally applicable' across a geographical area[3]

However, these limited set of rights must also been read within the context of TFEU art 56 (ex TEC art 49) on the freedom of establishment, and also the right to freedom of association under the European Convention on Human Rights article 11 and the EU Race Equality Directive. In this context there is the abovementioned mechanism of 'justified restrictions for the protection of essential requirements in the general interest', that the Court of Justice of the European Union has developed on the basis of the Treaty. Where the Directive does not apply, this mechanism remains decisive.

Case law

In 2007, the European Court of Justice chose to give two decisions, whose effect appears to suggest that employers are only required to pay their workers the rate they would receive in their home country, provided this matches minimum wages and working conditions in the country they are posted to.

2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery strikes

The Directive came to prominence during the 2009 Lindsey Oil Refinery strikes after British workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire claimed that they were being undercut by skilled foreign labour when the Italian construction contractor IREM appointed several hundred European (mainly Italian and Portuguese) contractors on the site at a time of high unemployment in the local and global economy. The action attracted considerable media interest.[4][5][6][7][8] However, this question is not handled by the Directive. It is a question of the right to free movement for services itself, which is handled directly by the Treaty itself, since the contractor wished to use its own staff rather than hiring external subcontractors.

Professor Michelle Everson[9] of collective bargaining agreements.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Workers posted temporarily to another EU country". 
  2. ^ "Posting of workers directive". European Federation of Building and Wood Workers. 
  3. ^ Dirk Rüffert v Land Niedersachsen [2008] IRLR 467 (C-446/06) decided that this did not include a German law allowing the state government to give mandatory effect to a building sector collective agreement because it did not cover all undertakings in the region and industry
  4. ^ Workers stage protest over use of foreign labour at oil refinery - Daily Mail Online
  5. ^ Mass walkout over foreign labour - BBC News Online
  6. ^ Hundreds of oil refinery workers walk out over jobs given to foreign workers - Daily Telegraph
  7. ^ Brits can kiss jobs goodbye - Daily Star
  8. ^ Britons walk out in foreign jobs protest - Daily Express
  9. ^ http://www.bbk.ac.uk/law/our-staff/ft-academic/meverson
  10. ^ "Strikes and the question of fairness". The Guardian (London). 3 February 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.