Denmark joins the Eastern European countries on social dumping issue

The European Commission proposed a revision of a directive to fight social dumping, but Denmark and 10 Eastern European countries have raised concerns.

By Sebastian Dall and Charlotte MacKay

The Danish union 3F is currently investigating a social dumping case against the Italian construction firm GFC working on the light-rail in Aarhus. Photo: Sebastian Dall
The Danish union 3F is currently investigating a social dumping case against the Italian construction firm GFC working on the light-rail in Aarhus. Photo: Sebastian Dall

Shortly after the European Commission, on 8 March, proposed a revision of the directive on cross-border workers, the national parliament of Denmark and 10 Eastern European countries showed concerns towards the “equal pay for equal work at the same place” warrant, arguing that is was national competence.

Jens Arnholtz a researcher in migration of workers says that Denmark has an entirely different reason for showing apprehension toward the revision than the Eastern European countries. The current directive states that the term ‘minimum wage’ is defined by national traditions and practices. The European Commission has since deleted that paragraph, which means that cases of minimum wages will be done in the European Court of Justice.

“The European Court of justice has ruled cases before in favor of companies which would not be the way a Danish court would view it,” Arnholtz says.

As the only Western European country raising concerns towards the revision, Ole Christensen, a Danish, social democratic member of the European Parliament were often has asked why.

“It has been a challenge to explain why Denmark is against equal pay for equal work, but I have close contact to the spokesmen and I believe it will be there in the final draft,” Ole Christensen says.

On 20 July the Commission responded to the concerns saying that the revision would not breach the national competence on pay but only ensure fair competition between Member States; the Commission has gone forward with the proposal.

 

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