The European Commission plans to set up an EU Labour Office beginning in 2019 to ensure and control the minimum wage and social standards for those that start work in another Member State or who work in a third country inside the bloc, Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen announced on Tuesday in Strasbourg.
“The free movement of workers is a pillar of the social union. The European Labour Authority will play a key role in creating a well-functioning European labour market. The Commission’s proposal on access to social protection, together with the EU states, ensures that nobody is left behind. Our goal is to ensure that people have access to benefits no matter how the work environment evolves,” said Thyssen.
Thyssen acknowledged that workers continue to be exploited, but insisted that the Commission’s proposal for the protection of social rights will “ensure that nobody is left behind.”
Over the past decade, the number of Europeans living and working in another Member State has doubled to 17 million in 2017. According to the Commission, the European Labour Authority will help citizens, business people, and national administrations to guarantee the freedom of movement for workers and fair labour mobility.
The agency will first provide information on jobs, training opportunities, job placement and apprenticeships, as well as on the rights and obligations in each EU country. It will also support cooperation between national authorities in cross-border matters and ensure that EU rules are protected to prevent fraud and abuse. The European Labor Office could also offer mediation and facilitate solutions for cross-border disputes, particularly when the restructuring of a company affects several EU countries.
The Commission has also recommended that self-employed workers be guaranteed the same labour protection rights as other members of the workforce as almost 40% of the EU’s worker do not work full-time, on a fixed schedule, or are freelancers.