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Posting workers


Posting of workers directive
The Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) was adopted in 1996 and has for many years been considered to be a landmark in the European trade union movement’s attempt to influence EU legislation.
The directive lays down a “host country principle” concerning which terms of employment shall be applicable for workers posted by an undertaking in one Member State to work in another Member State. The directive enumerates in Article 3 a number of minimum conditions which have to be met when posting workers.
The specific importance of the Directive for the building sector is underlined by the mentioning in the Annex of activities falling under the Directive: construction, repair and alteration or demolition of buildings. The EFBWW was highly involved in the lobbying for a Posting of Workers Directive in the 1990s and has also concluded a number of Joint Opinions with FIEC in the European Social Dialogue, related to the Directive.

However, from December 2007 onwards – following the Laval, Ruffert and Luxembourg judgments – a new jurisprudence has been created by the European Court of Justice as to how the Posting of Workers Directive should be interpreted. The most important changes have been 1) the list of minimum conditions enumerated in the Directive are to be considered an “exhaustive list”, meaning that Member States and Social Partners could not enforce conditions for posted workers beyond the minimum conditions; 2) the sentence in the Directive allowing for “the application of terms and conditions of employment which are more favourable to workers” is now considered to refer to the home country, not the host country; 3) the possibility to include in legislation other conditions than those referred to in the Directive has been severely restricted.

The EFBWW, the ETUC and other European Industry Federations are now calling for a reversal of the effects of the ECJ judgments.


Find related articles on this subject
Text of the Posting directive
Laval Case Judgment - European implications
Ruffert Case judgment - European implications
Luxembourg Case - European implications

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