Fabian Demicoli

GRTU Position paper on Proposal for a directive

– on measures facilitating the exercise of rights
conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers – As a matter of principle, GRTU
welcomes measures facilitating free movement of workers within the European
Union. In order to facilitate a better enforcement and implementation of the
various pre-existing directives and regulations dealing with the free movement
of workers, the new proposed directive should use existing infrastructures and
bodies already in place for rights enforcement and information provision.

GRTU acknowledges that
free movement of workers within the EU can be one of the important means for:

  • Contributing to the supply of qualified workers in
    countries and regions where the economy and notably SMEs are suffering from a
    lack of skilled workforce,
  • Facilitating
    a better matching between labour supply and demand since in several EU
    countries there is an increasing gap between unemployment rates and job
    vacancies,
  • Promoting
    the internationalisation of SMEs through the hiring of EU migrant workers.

However in order to fully grasp
the economic benefits of freedom of movement for workers and to avoid unfair
competition, GRTU considers that it is equally important to complement it with
a correct and full enforcement of rules within the single market. This should
notably apply in the case of posting of workers. In the same way, GRTU recalls
the need to tackle the risks of fraud and breach of what has been qualified as
"social tourism".

As regularly highlighted,
European citizens including European workers are still showing a rather low
mobility rate. According to the Eurobarometer on free movement for workers only
10% of European citizens have worked in another Member State in 2011, but more
than half of the EU population is simply not interested in working abroad. The
main reasons for that are the language barriers and family considerations.

GRTU sees it necessary to put
more efforts  into dissemination of
information, changing mindsets, making people more aware of work and career
opportunities abroad as well as on their rights and obligations, which is one
of the EURES network's main tasks. This might also be supported by more active
foreign language learning.

As a good means to promote
mobility of workers within the EU, GRTU would like to emphasise the importance
of fostering learning mobility of young people during their education pathways
notably for those in vocational education and training. Having a mobility
experience duly recognised in education should become the rule. The
implementation of the European Credit

Transfer Systems in Vocational
Education and training (ECVET) is the right way forward.

On the current proposal for a
directive, GRTU takes note of the four objectives:

Lessening
discrimination against EU migrant workers on the grounds of nationality

Closing
the gap between EU migrant workers' rights on paper and their exercise in
practice

Reducing
the incidence of unfair practices against EU migrant workers

Empowering
EU migrant workers to ensure their rights are respected

 

However while supporting the
main objectives GRTU would like to insist on the importance to prevent and
tackle unfair competition for small companies as well as to apply the European
commitments for a simplification and better regulation agenda. It should
materialise in this new legislative proposal by avoiding red tape, new
administrative obligations and additional requirements for small businesses.

GRTU positively assesses the
current EC proposal for facilitating the freedom of movement of workers, which
we consider being too low in Europe while avoiding unfair competition.

However this might also be a
good opportunity to further assess existing national legislation and apply the
simplification and better regulation agenda if need be.

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