labour-marketWhat should the European labour market look like? Recently, László Andor, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, proposed new rules to increase the protection of workers temporarily posted abroad. The proposal aims to improve on previous “posting-of-workers” laws, which became highly controversial after the 2004 EU enlargement, when trade unions accused companies of posting workers from central and Eastern Europe to work in Western Europe on lower levels of pay and social protection.

The European Commission explains on its website that “worker protection and fair competition are the two sides of the EU single market’s coin, yet findings suggest that minimum employment and working conditions are often not respected for the one million or so posted workers in the EU.” In a time of economic crisis, do you think the EU should focus more on protecting workers  rights or on improving competition? The Commission’s proposal for legislation was immediately accused by socialists and trade unionists of undermining workers’ rights to strike. Do you think workers’ rights, including the right to strike, are currently respected all over the EU?

37 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Panayotis Dimitrios Moutafidis

    protection of workers need it and sure not respect or try use media to make people turn against with them who in strike that happen specially in economical crisis but bad thing is the EU HAVE NOT strategy for unemployment and think workers with no wrights or with very low wages help economy can say EU intresting more for markets more and less with workers

  2. avatar
    Zoétán Jenei

    ma magyarorszgon a munka vlalok jogai tulzott mrtkben le vannak korltozva a strjk esetn 50%mrtkben biztositani kell a munkt klnben tvnytelen nyilvnitjk a sztrjkot

  3. avatar
    Milena Mihova

    European labour market have to be under the supervision of government legistislative “body” as a real practice in social life. The overpreponderance of private sector would be profitable, at first glance, for the economic advance, but the vulnerability of workers rights have been increased to higher rate in recent decades. So, in this reference, turning around this this regular feed-back results in inviolation of workers rights. The practice to the moment give me sure evidence that the trend take the appearence of circulum vista.

  4. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    A good place to start would be for the European Union, commission & Parliament to stop interfering in the affairs of independent nations.

    Dissolving the European Union would reinstate competitiveness almost over night.

  5. avatar
    Тодор Пастармаджиев

    No , come here to see how people are working for 8-10-8 h. and the most ot them are at 4h insurance . And because everyone knows that workers cant say nothing ,because “Outside alot are waiting for his seat, if you dont like the terms then go home”

  6. avatar
    Ronald Galena

    No. Workers’ rights are not being currently respected throughout the EU. Defending the right to strike is tantamount to Labour.

    Increasing labour benefits, safety, and wages makes for a stronger economy in the long run. These three things insure a better life for more people who will sustain the economy permanently!

  7. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    Firstly, “In a time of economic crisis, do you think the EU should focus more on protecting workers rights or on improving competition?” is framed as an either/or question suggesting that both cannot be achieved simultaneously and I disagree with that.

    Secondly it suggests that “rights” has a direct and adverse correlation to economic growth and is in some way a hindrance to it. Again I would disagree.

    What the EU is clearly lacking at present is a policy for growth across the block but maybe we should be asking ourselves whether the EU is even equipped to deal with so many diverse national situations in an all-encompassing policy at all.

    Does it even possess all the levers necessary to effectively implement such a policy should they come up with a one-size-fits-all initiative?

    If the answer is “No” then is the EU even the right body to attempt such a policy in the first place?

    It may well be smaller, regional or even national bodies that being far more nimble in policy and movement are better suited than the behemoth of EU policy and bureaucracy which moves at glacial speed.

    Whatever the case, thus far we have yet to see the EU policy for growth in a highly competitive world where downwards pressure on wages and entitlements in the western model will continue.

    Let’s see what they come up with.

  8. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Well, as a socialist, you know what my reaction will be in this… Protect the workers’ rights. Why on earth are we building the single market for, if it is for people to be exploited? There should be equal pay for all, and equal opportunities for employment.

    If a company wants to transfer some workers into another country, then they should be getting at least the minimum wage of this country. How on earth are you expected to live in a country with high salaries, let’s say Holland-a very expensive country, with the wages of Poland or Estonia. The companies must learn to pay up.. No more human exploitation.

    We did not create the single market so that we can have two classes of citizens, the rich and the poor, those who will be working for scraps and those who be paid twice or three times what other Europeans are getting paid for doing the same job.

    Or else, cut the salaries of the Germans, Dutch, British and French down to the level of the Poles or the Greeks and pay everybody the same…Do Americans earn different salaries while all states using the dollar? No!!

    If you want to create competition and make our economies more competitive, then harmonize the salaries across the EU, down to a basic level of perhaps 800 euro or so… for everybody..800 € for a Pole, a Greek, a Swede, a German, an Irishman,a Brit a Spaniard,a Dutchman.. We are not Chinese to work for less, we fought hard to gain all the worker’s benefits that we have now.. And so it must stay..

    If you want to compete with China, then bring back all those factories and industries that have fled Europe and give Europeans their jobs back.. Then invest in creating more jobs and new industries..Diversify our economies and do not rely on the service or financial industries that we have been for the past few decades..

    You have changed our economies back in the ’80s (the most famous example Britain’s Thatcher) for the worse in my opinion. You destroyed European industries in exchange of cheap and quick money coming from the banks and the markets or bubble property economies..So you can change our economies back again…

    Anything else will just be unfair….

  9. avatar
    catherine benning

    The abuse of power in the Labour market is creating poverty in many States. Tighten up the Labour laws and demand compliance.

    Taxation of those who refuse to comply should begin immediately. And make moves to nationalise all utilities. Water, electric, gas and sewage under the privatisation we have seen in the UK is forcing the citizens of our country into abject poverty. And no they don’t invest it in modernisation, that is a smokescreen. Throughout Europe we should have nationalised untilities and transport long ago.

  10. avatar
    Peter Schellinck

    The Single Market has brought tremendous benefits to the men and women of Europe. However, in a time of economic crisis (or rather fundamental change), EU must focus on both protecting workers rights and improving competition. These two developments create a strategic opportunity to link trade liberalisation with labour standards and hence to both reap gains and avoid harm. The gain of a truly internal market is several billion euros and could secure positive growth for decades to come.

    The EU must truly cooperate on a strategy of constructing a common labour standards regime that countries themselves will enforce. It would significantly shift the terms of trade in our favour, since the value-added of exports – and therefore income – would increase relative to the cost of imports from other countries.

    Our rights can only be ensured uniformly across Europe if the application of EU law is taken seriously. Labour-unfriendly countries will no longer be able to compete with China or locally simply by allowing greater abuse of their workers.

    If we are concerned about reducing poverty and inequality while trying to sustain economic growth we will have to break from our current, self-defeating stance against linking trade and labour standards.

    The Single Market Rights can only be guaranteed if there is the necessary political will and strong commitment to make them effective and efficient. Hence, all EU countries must simplify their procedures radically to help start up, move and expand across Europe. It is high time to deliver truly integrated, user-friendly and effective cross-border and online services.

    Happy Workers are Good for Growth.

  11. avatar
    Jovan Ivosevic

    The one is not exclusive of the other. The greatest social program is a job. Union should discourage or ban measures to prevent workers from getting terminated, thus making the labor market more flexible. But it should encourage assistance in job retraining and job replacement to get those folks back to the work force as soon as possible.

  12. avatar
    Vladimir Skokan

    We should work as 1 EU to have a better place on European soil. Economiclly, we are already bigger than USA. Yes, German technique, Spanish oranges, slovak workers, French way of life, Brtitish politics…

  13. avatar
    Martin Bohle

    …to remember that’s about selling your work force on the market having nothing else to sell. Thus fair, sustainable conditions EU-wide are paramout.

  14. avatar
    Put Tommie

    What about making sure other EU-peeps dont steal jobs from the western country’s. I’m from belguim they are highering peeps from the east-lands to work hear cause they are very cheap. And they dont pay taxes in belguim what so ever. Do something about that. Make the wagers the same everywere. Belguim already has the highest taxes in the world. Maybe work something out that peeps stay in there country and dont steal jobs for other in other country’s. And I’m not talking about 500 peeps -,-. I’m talking around 400k in belguim alone. We have peeps who get payed by the governement thats around 380k. Like I said resolve something around that. And Europe would prosper better then now.

  15. avatar
    MandyandPj Leneghan

    Re: “protecting workers’ rights or on improving competition?”. Well that is certainly the direction we are being (mis)led by the current economic model and to whose benefit? Improving competition to create more jobs of course has already led to workers rights being diminished and under constant threat and where has that left us? To put it another way, the suggestion is that citizens should alter their/our goals, our lifestyles to suit the current economic system. This of course, in my opinion is the intent of the globalist, to become say like the Philippines? but then where to next? Aren’t there any real European politicians out there that can take on this madness that is this mafia driven globalization? Any that believe that it is this economic model that needs to be discarded and replaced with a system that concentrates its energy on providing for the needs of humans as opposed to power and profits for the few?…pj

  16. avatar
    Nuridin Mohammed

    iam not think that E.U can protecting work right see the country we are now spain is cutting the workers right now

  17. avatar
    Jai Krishna Ponnappan

    I agree with the previous comment. With regards to the full scope and impact of globalization on local economies we are seeing many instances of similar problems right here across the United States over the last 4-5 years or so. The immediate answer would be to focus more on achieving or striving to, a) protect worker’s rights and the communties that they support b) protect the local economies and parallely try and do this while preserving, promoting or ensuring autonomy, self governance and other measures to ensure the financial systems and particularly the major banks are isolated or insulated to a certain extent. This can’t happen overnight without political will and careful and determined planning on the part of policy makers and the business communities they are working with. This and some of these measures have been taken by certain indutries, sections and states here successfuly and the unaccounted and unchecked impact of globalization, the efforts of its many foot soldiers and certain failing economies in certain states here have been curbed or isolated to a reasonable degree. Some of the smaller less dominant economies and financial systems in Europe are most certainly going to suffer severely under this sort of parasitic economic canabilism that has taken hold of several regions, unfortunately we only get to see its political dimensions every now and then, but it’s high time people took back their power and try their best to act to save what they have and the rest of what they could possibly loose to external elements, factors and forces. We don’t need to deal or identify this complex, distracting and illusive problem, we primarily need to act to implement solutions that can directly and immediately help better serve and protect the work force and other active participants in the economy rather than do anything that blindly and unjustifiably favors multi national shadow or corporate/financial entities. I think this would still be a great topic for a debate provided the intention is to spread awareness and promote a call for action. Cheers & Best Regards, Jai Krishna Ponnappan :)

  18. avatar
    Hasan Özdemir

    Hello,There is a Turkish proverb that it a price of camel decrease to down one lira why absence of a claim to buy it ,you should not buy it.In contrast if a price of camel increase to up a thousand liras why excist of very much claims, you should buy it immediatly. EU must prefer to realise competitiveness and productivity firstly for Eurozone and as immediatly.Best wishes,

  19. avatar
    Eusebio Manuel Vestias Pecurto

    Os nossos direitos dos trabalhadoeres não estão sendo respeitados atualmente em toda a Europa e que os estados membros cumprem a lesgislação da UE Agora os lideres da Europa devem criar novas politicas para um crescimento sustentável em toda a UE

  20. avatar
    Carla Oliveira

    I think labour market in Europe should be free, we belong to the same big group of countries, European Union, after all this years they try to make same laws, same currency (euro) so in work should be like that, has same oportunity in the country as the person born in that country.

  21. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Definitely a problem of inequality of salaries, and the too powerful labour unions in many countries that are undermining the EU’s competitiveness. Some moderation is needed.

  22. avatar
    Chiara Maruccia

    Respect for workers and their rights first, nobody should be underpaied, then the global market will solve its problems naturally.

  23. avatar
    Melinda Vass

    The worker’s rights are very important, and EU and the states should take care of it, but worker’s rights don’t make sense without jobs, and EU labour market doesn’t have enough, especially for high educated people. I think EU as well the states have a lot of to do in this case.

  24. avatar
    Natasa Jevtovic

    How about much lower taxes which should promote entrepreneurship and job creation?
    You can take the example of the Eastern Europe and its flat tax system, as it stimulates economic growth.
    If you reduce government spending and continue with austerity measures, the economic growth will come back.
    Finally, it would be nice to have just one job market in the whole Europe, without too much red tape, so that citizens might work in several EU countries during their career and take jobs where they are,
    for the sake of all of us.

  25. avatar
    Sunny Cvitkovic Anderson

    Natasa, really? And in 20-40 years you serbs will start to call parts of France or Belgium – serbia? I think EU should be very very careful with opening job market to uncivilized countries like serbia.

    • avatar
      Natasa Jevtovic

      Just seen your comment. You seem to be from the Balkan peninsula yourself based on your name. And yet you another country and even married its citizen. Such a shame people like you are allowed to travel at all. Learn how to respect your neighbours.

  26. avatar

    nice labor market, they send our own youth to war while they give the terrorists jobs.

  27. avatar
    Efrossiny Exarchoulakou

    as a worker acting in greece i can say that it should be better the present situation as regards productive work and benefits something that has been excluded from a part of workers due to political reason when we stop consider work as a mean of proactive political systems we will have always unsolved situations

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