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Watchdog, the online platform to prevent double standards in posted workers in the EU

Photo: eu-watchdog.com

More than a year ago the European Parliament altered the rules for companies from Eastern Europe posting workers in countries in Western Europe. The reason: a double standard in their payment and social security to the detriment of the posted workers, as well as undercutting the cost of labour on the territory of the receiving country. According to the new regulations when employers post their workers or staff in another European country, they ought to ensure that they receive equal pay for the same amount of work done in the country they are sent to. What is more, travel and subsistence expenses have to be covered by the employer who has the obligation to provide decent accommodation in accordance with national legislation. The length of assignments of posted workers is up to 12 months, with a possible extension of another 6 months. After this deadline expires the worker can continue working in the same country under the terms of the labour legislation of the host country.

In support of the new European rules the platform Watchdog was created “to establish active mechanisms of control and monitoring of the posted workers’ rights across the EU via cooperation, exchange of knowledge and evidence-based approach of social partners, national labour inspections and European agencies.”

According to the Hasan Ademov, chair of the parliamentary labour, social and demographic policy committee it is particularly important that “the level of qualification and education are in correspondence within the frameworks of the EU, and correspond to a fair level of pay.”

“If all sides concerned connected with this platform, such as the General Labour Inspectorate, the state institutions and the trade unions create reliable, legal control mechanisms – this means that the rights of posted workers will be observed. In this sense the creation of this platform is a big step towards resolving this problem.”

The platform is the result of the joint efforts of the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour and 9 EU member countries, social partners and research institutes in Denmark, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. Podkrepa President Dimitar Manolov:

“People seeking a job outside their country of origin should know what rights they have in the country they are going to. If they have any doubts or insufficient information or their rights are being violated – they have the tool that will at least inform them so that they can claim their rights. In this sense I think our partnership with the General Labour Inspectorate is very important.”

At the moment the platform is available on the websites of the partner organizations, including the Podkrepa website and it will be available for use, free of charge by the General Labour Inspectorate. There will soon be a Facebeook page as well.

“As it is an open platform there are no burdensome mechanisms of identification,” says Todor Kachkov, project leader for Podkrepa. “It is now up and running and we shall make sure that the information that it exists reaches as many people as possible. At this time it is only in English. We have assumed the commitment to have it translated into Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Latvian and the other languages of the partner countries within a month and a half. We shall add to these languages within one year because of the enormous amount of information. The aim is for the worker to be able to seek consultation and help if a problem occurs. Together with the General Labour Inspectorate we are drafting a framework agreement of cooperation in which we shall look for the mechanisms for rapid reaction on their part. Even though the emphasis in the platform is on posted workers, it can also be of use to Bulgarian citizens working on the territory of the EU. We know that Bulgaria is a champion in this respect on the territory of the EU. That is why Bulgarian workers abroad should be given more support, they should know that the state backs them, that the trade unions back them. It does not matter which trade union they are members of, it is a question of principles, even if they are not trade union members – they have rights.”

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