Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Eastern European countries block review of EU Posted Worker Directive

At least ten eastern European countries have banded together to block a review of the EU Posted Worker Directive which would have stopped companies employing people in their native countries and posting them abroad to work for the wages they would normally get at home.

Companies use EU free movement of labour rules to employ people in countries where labour is cheap and then send them to another EU country where labour is expensive to actually do the work.

Hiring a labourer for a building site in Bulgaria will cost you about £2 per hour whereas hiring one in the UK will cost you about £8 per hour. Under EU rules a company can employ a labourer in Bulgaria, fly them over to the UK and set them to work on a building site here for £2 per hour, bypassing the minimum wage legislation and all the other employment rights that would be afforded to a worker employed in the EU.

And this is by no means a clever trick employed by a handful of unscrupulous big companies, it is not uncommon for an entire workforce of casual labourers to be replaced with a gang of eastern Europeans overnight. Employing people is an expensive business and if a company can cut their wage bill by 75% whilst avoiding paying employers' National Insurance and providing a workplace pension then there would have to be a compelling reason not to do it.