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EFBWW, EFFAT, ETF launch joint policy paper to limit subcontracting and regulate intermediaries


EFBWW, EFFAT and ETF demand urgent EU actions to limit subcontracting, regulate labour intermediaries, and strengthen effective enforcement.

EFBWW, EFFAT and ETF represent workers in labour intensive and fraud sensitive industries, such as construction, food, agriculture, hospitality and transport. These sectors are heavily reliant on the work of mobile and migrant workers who often fall victim to discrimination and labour exploitation in exploitative business models which heavily rely on abusive subcontracting practices and unregulated labour intermediation.

The free movement of workers enshrined in the EU treaties should be a cornerstone of the EU integration process. However, for many mobile workers employed in our sectors the principle of equal treatment that goes with it unfortunately only exists on paper. At the same time, a growing number of third country nationals is employed in our industries in recent years. Often, they find themselves in even more precarious situations, completely dependent on intermediaries.

This new phenomenon has led to a rise of labour crime, including gangmaster practices, human trafficking, and bonded labour.

EFBWW, EFFAT and ETF believe that a fair and sustainable internal market is based on fair competition, quality and stable jobs, skills and qualifications, fair wages, high health and safety standards and strong collective bargaining agreements. Direct employment should be the standard. Where workers are not directly employed, full equal treatment –with equal pay for equal work at the same workplace at its core– must be a non-negotiable principle.

Limiting subcontracting, regulating the role of labour intermediaries, and bolstering the frequency and effectiveness of labour inspections is essential to achieve real equal treatment at the workplace, tackle labour abuses and increase the attractiveness of our sectors. This should be a top priority for the next EU legislative term.

This EFBWW, EFFAT and ETF policy brief is a clear call for action addressed to the EU Institutions and national governments. It complements previous trade union demands2 and outlines the main elements of our joint proposal for EU action.