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PRESS RELEASE: Formal complaint to the European Commission against Slovenia for the granting of 'illegal state aid' to companies that temporarily post workers abroad and for the disruption of the European internal market
Today (1 February 2019), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) submitted a request to the European Commission against Slovenia for granting illegal state aid to their companies when they post workers abroad. The request was submitted to European Commissioners Vestager and Bieńkowska, who are responsible for fair competition between companies and the internal market.

Slovenia has organised its national legislation in such a way that companies that temporarily post workers abroad receive considerable reductions in social security contributions. These reductions give these companies a significant financial competitive advantage and means that they can offer their services more cheaply abroad than in their own country.

At the moment, European social security legislation stipulates that countries decide themselves how to organise their social security. According to EFBWW President Dietmar Schäfers, "There is nothing wrong with this autonomy but countries must not deliberately abuse their independence by giving considerable financial benefits to their companies when they post workers abroad. Approximately 1 million posted workers are exploited every year. It now appears as though Slovenia is assisting with this through the systems they have put in place." The advantage gained by companies amounts easily to around €500 Euro per worker per month (depending on the country to which the workers are sent).

Between 2010 and 2016, the number of Slovenian posted workers rose from around 25,000 to 164,226. These workers are mainly employed in the construction sector in Germany, Austria and Belgium. Many experts believe that the real figures are much higher. Currently Slovenia is a kind of gateway of cheap labour for Europe for numerous workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania.

This proves that Slovenia has adopted a policy of exporting cheap labour.

The EFBWW has explicitly requested that the European Commission thoroughly investigate this and declare these advantages to be 'illegal state aid' to companies. The EFBWW has also submitted a formal request to the European Commission against Slovenia for the disruption of the internal market.


NB:
According to the EU Treaty, illegal state aid to companies is expressly prohibited and the European Commission can impose sanctions on countries that violate this rule.

The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers represents 75 affiliated national trade unions in 34 countries. In total, around 2 million workers are affiliated with the EFBWW.

CONTACT: Werner Buelen, wbuelen@efbh.be

 
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