chapter  9
6 Pages

The importance of posting of workers for the member states: myth and reality

WithAgnieszka Wołoszyn

The chapter discusses the posting of workers from different perspectives and proves that the largely negative views on such posting often ignore reality. The author attempts to find out why the posting of workers has been given inordinate attention at the expense of more pressing issues. Viewing the posting of workers through the prism of social dumping and attributing to such posting the adverse impacts on national markets are the main reasons given by some Member States for adopting restrictive measures in this respect (and also in the context of national legal reforms). A growing number of such measures are aimed at protecting national markets to the detriment of the internal market and the freedom to provide services. Is this approach justified? Should the posting of workers be reduced to labour competition on wages and become a solution to the labour woes of low-wage countries? Or perhaps it is more of a red herring used across the European Union (EU), in the Member States and in the world of politics as a distraction from other troubles (such as decreasing trust in the EU on the part of its citizens)?

Considering the relatively small number of postings, one may presume that the posting of workers is an invented problem that is easier to resolve than such actual crises as those mentioned above or the rise of precarious employment, undeclared work and even trafficking in human beings. However, is that conclusion correct? Studies show that although the extent of postings is relatively limited, the vast majority of it occurs in a handful of Member States with huge impacts on their economies.

This chapter shows that contrary to popular belief, remuneration, among other issues, is not critical for labour competition on wages. The key factor seems to be the amount of social security contributions. Moreover, this chapter relies on the available studies on a number of trends in posting, including a variety of case studies, to address the following questions: Is it possible that a small number of postings significantly affects the economies of Member States? Are posted workers really seen as a solution to the labour difficulties of low-wage countries and a threat to national labour markets due to labour competition on wages?