The issue of whether subcontractors using workers posted abroad should be made liable for protecting their rights was the focus of a heated first debate in the Employment Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
Rapporteur MEP Danuta Jazlowiecka (EPP, PL) proposed deleting Article 12 of a Commission proposal on subcontracting which would make contractors liable for posted workers employed by their direct subcontractors. Instead she hoped that the committee would be able to find alternative ways to protect the workers.
However, the idea of deleting Article 12 was vehemently contested by some MEPs, who cited specific examples of posted workers who could not avail themselves of their rights because they were left stranded by contractors that disappeared overnight.
Others argued that Article 12 could result in differing treatment of national and posted workers, and could hamper cross-border competition if firms employing posted workers are forced to comply with provisions that do not apply to those using national workers.
MEPs also discussed how best to define when a worker is "posted", fight bogus "letter box" companies and what control measures member states should be able to apply to prevent "social dumping" abuse and circumvention of the rights of posted workers.
The committee vote is scheduled for 21 February 2013.
In the chair: Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR)
A recording of the debate is available via the link to the right.