OREANDA-NEWS. Workers do not enjoy the same level of social protection within the EU. Faced with increased competition some businesses resort to social dumping in order to reduce their labour costs. This could lead to workers being exploited as cheap labour. During last week’s plenary session, MEPs called for this unfair practice to be ended. They also discussed measures to help reconcile work, private and family life and minimum income schemes.

Social dumping

Social dumping is about reducing labour costs using illegal and exploitative practices. It primarily concerns sectors such as agriculture, construction, catering, transport, heath and domestic services.

European companies are able to use their workers in another member state on a temporary basis, but this can be abused by for example setting up bogus letterbox companies, or using successive postings to ensure the workers used are paid a lot less than other workers in that country. Enterprises can also pressure workers into declaring themselves as self-employed to avoid national insurance contributions.

During the September plenary MEPs adopted a report by French S&D member Guillaume Balas, which calls social dumping “a wide range of intentionally abusive practices and the circumvention of existing European and national legislation”.

The report comes at an important time as there will be a revision of the controversial Posting of Workers Directive.