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15 March 2018

The European Labour Authority will have to tackle social dumping, according to the European unions

The European Trade Union movement has cautiously welcomed the setting up by 2019 of a European Labour Authority (ELA).

“A European Labour Authority is clearly needed to combat cross-border social fraud. It must be about protecting workers - not be yet another internal market tool - and respect national industrial relations systems”, commented Luca Visentini, the General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

From her side, the ETUC Confederal Secretary in charge of mobility and migration issues, the Estonian Liina Carr, insisted on the necessity to provide the new EU agency with enough resources “to fight cross-border social fraud effectively”.

Uni-Europa has also reacted positively but with cautious to the Commission's announcement. “The ELA could help solve problems arising from cross-border labour mobility such as social dumping, letterbox companies or bogus self-employment”, stated the European service workers' trade union in a press release. Nevertheless, Uni-Europa insisted on the necessity to guaranteeing that the new agency will respect the autonomy of social partners and the involvement of trade unions in national inspection and enforcement systems.

The new authority, that was officially presented on 13 March by the EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, will aim to coordinate better the national labour authorities, especially in the field of labour mobility. The Commission notes that the number of people not working in their home member state has almost doubled in the past decade from 9m to 17m, around 7% of the EU labour force.

The agency will have three main functions: to improve access to information and services for employers and citizens on labour mobility and social security coordination; to improve coordination among national authorities; and to mediate in disputes between these national authorities. The Commission aims for the new agency is to be up and running in 2019, so the Council and Parliament would have to approve the proposed regulation this year. 

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