As an observer to the European Platform tackling undeclared work, the World Employment Confederation-Europe takes part in the EU Week for Seasonal Workers and its Rights4AllSeasons campaign on 20-24 September. Private employment services – temporary agency work in particular – offer a well-regulated form of flexible work supporting workers’ mobility in all sectors while protecting their rights and working conditions.
Published on 23rd September 2021
Intra-EU mobile workers and seasonal workers coming to Europe play a key role in ensuring the matching of demand and supply on the labour market and in addressing labour market mismatches. Skills and labour market shortages are currently rising again in many European countries, as economies are recovering from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the context of work mobility and seasonal work, it is essential that existing EU legal instruments such as the Directive on seasonal work and the Directive on temporary agency work are correctly applied and enforced. “Fair labour mobility and seasonal work needs to combine the economic and social benefits of mobility with adequate social protection of workers and the timely information about their rights and working conditions,” says Dr. Michael Freytag, Public Affairs Manager for the World Employment Confederation-Europe.
To contribute proactively and constructively to the EU policy debates on seasonal work and work mobility, the World Employment Confederation-Europe has joined the EU Platform tackling undeclared work as an observer in its capacity of EU sectoral social partner for temporary agency work and it has also been appointed as an alternate member of the stakeholder group of the European Labour Authority. Dialogue, exchange and the sharing of good practices developed by Member States or European sectoral social partners are essential to ensure the adequate protection of all workers.
While ensuring adequate work mobility is particularly important in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic, guaranteeing the health and safety for all workers – regardless of whether they move across borders or work as agency workers in one single country – is in the core interest and a prime concern for the private employment services industry. In the Netherlands, where migrant workers are essential for certain sectors like agriculture, WEC-Europe national federation member ABU introduced mandatory subscription to a “Fair Employment Code” and “Fair recruitment charter” for its members since January 2021. A central element in these two documents is the commitment to take good care of migrant workers. The federation also worked on an agreement to allow migrant workers to stay longer in their accommodation after work has ceased (4 weeks) and to provide new migrant workers with at least the minimum wage during the first 8 weeks of work; therefore guaranteeing them decent and secure working and living conditions. ABU also launched information videos in 11 languages to give migrant workers all useful information about working in the Netherlands so they are prepared before making the decision to come in the country.
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly accelerated existing labour market trends related to the rise of diverse forms of work, new skills needs and the necessity to provide adequate social protection for all workers. All these elements are addressed by the World Employment Confederation-Europe’s Manifesto for “Recovery, Reform and Resilience”, which aims to build more inclusive and agile labour markets. Ensuring responsible labour market intermediation based on the existing, national and European regulation on temporary agency work is a key recommendation of the Manifesto and it remains a main objective and guiding principle of the World Employment Confederation-Europe in the EU policy debates on labour mobility and seasonal work in Europe.