European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

European Parliament fails to secure protections for posted workers


Yesterday European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee members voted overwhelmingly for an inadequate preliminary directive on the enforcement of existing directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers.

With 30 votes in favour, the EMPL Committee approved the disappointing draft developed through trilogue negotiations with the Council that, if adopted by the European Parliament Plenary later in the year, will do little to prevent further abuse under the existing directive or put an end to social exploitation and unfair competition.

From the outset of negotiations, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), together with the other European trade union federations and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), clearly stated the need for this directive to establish that host country pay and conditions should apply to workers who fall outside of the scope of the directive. However, the draft legislation fails to give any such clarity, and it seems inevitable that such determinations will fall to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Furthermore, Article 9 restricts national control measures on the grounds of ‘proportionality’ and an obligation to notify the European Commission, while Article 12 fails to guarantee joint and several liability for subcontracting chains across all sectors, leaving social fraud at the bottom of subcontracting chains – especially in the meat and catering sectors – unchallenged.

“Given the failure of this opportunity to conclude a directive that will once and for all put an end to the well-known legal, administrative and practical forms of abuse, fraud and loopholes practiced when workers are temporarily posted in another European country, EFFAT calls for a revision of the existing directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers,” said Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT General Secretary.

EFFAT will continue to demand more effective solutions to end exploitation, social dumping and unfair competition in the context of the European demonstration organised by the ETUC in Brussels on 4 April.

Media contact: Dominique Mitchell +32 490 56 94 05 or

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.