At its sitting, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) heard the opinions of the employers and other relevant organisations on the planned amendments, initiated by the European Commission, to the Posting of Workers Directive.
Chairman of the Committee Kalle Palling said that all Member States have to transpose the Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive by July this year. “Thus we do not yet have a practice we have previously agreed on,” he said. “We may imagine that all workers who do equal work have equal salary in the European Union, but on the single market we are competing with services where one component of the price is labour.”
In Palling’s opinion, it is reasonable for Estonia today to be explicitly against the amendments planned by the European Commission, or to apply for including compromise proposals in the proposed directive.
Chairman of the Estonian Employers’ Confederation Toomas Tamsar said that the employers did not support the adoption of the changes planned by the directive, because they restricted the free movement of services instead of expanding it. In his opinion, the amendments contain a contradiction: although they speak about protecting the posted workers, the actual purpose is trying to protect the local labour market. Tamsar also added that it was worth considering the submitting of the five compromise proposals of the Government to the draft directive of the European Commission.
Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Association of Construction Entrepreneurs Raivo Rand pointed out that the amendments to the Posting of Workers Directive planned by the European Commission deepen the gap between the new and old Member States. “The export of goods is accompanied by the export of services, and if the same rules started to apply everywhere, it will be a hindrance to the new Member States in entering the single market,” he said.
CEO of the Estonian Service Industry Association Evelyn Sepp said that Estonia should support the growth of business initiative both in Estonia and Europe, and through it, the actual integration of the common internal market of the European Union. The impact of the Directive and its amendments is in her opinion protectionist and aimed inwards, and the people of Europe or Estonia would not gain anything from it. “It is important for Estonia to understand that administrative intervening has no prospects, and to promote cooperation and competition based on quality at each level,” Sepp said.
Lawyer of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Katre Rugo drew attention to the fact that Estonia, who is mainly a posting country, would suffer because of the amendments to the Directive. She said that the Chamber supported submitting a reasoned opinion because in the present form the amendments to the Directive damage the competitiveness of Estonian companies in the European Union.
Chairman of the Estonian Trade Union Confederation Peep Peterson said that as long as there was no comprehensive labour law in the European Union, the Member States should be allowed to manage their labour market themselves.
The Social Affairs Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee discussed the amendments at their sittings yesterday and found that the proposal of the European Union Affairs Committee was justified. On 20 April, the European Union Affairs Committee submitted to the Riigikogu a draft Resolution (225 OE)containing a reasoned opinion on why the proposal of the European Commission on the Posting of Workers Directive, presented in March, does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity. The European Union Affairs Committee will form its opinion at its Friday sitting. The debate of the draft Resolution in the Riigikogu is planned for 10 May.
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