Bruegel: Posted workers are not the source of social dumping

The dispute over posted workers is going at full speed. However, increasingly it has a political, instead of economical ground, according to Marc-Antoine Authier (Institute Montaigne, Paris)  in his comment for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

President Macron tries to convience EU leaders that the main reason of social dumping are posted workers however he forgets that they have lesser impact on labour market than commonly thought.


Recently, a Brussels-based think tank, Bruegel Institute, published two papers on this subject:  „EU posted workers: separating facts and fiction” and „Could revising the posted workers directive improve social conditions”. Both of them are dispelling the myth of cheap workforce from Central-Eastern Europe as the main source of social dumping and unfair competitiveness on European market.

The key finding by Bruegel is that wages of posted workers are much higher than previously thought. According to the EU directive from 1996 (revisioned in 2014) posted workers are not allowed to work for less than a minimum wage in hosting country. Research shows that posted Polish workers usually earn significantly more than that, about. 10 euro net per hour.

Author of the analysis dr Zsolt Darvas, quoted in Gazeta Prawna, confirms the opinion of Marc-Antoine Authier:

“In the dispute with posted workers president of France tries to build up his popularity. In Emmanuel Macron’s opinion they are the source of social dumping. EU’s problem are undeclered workers not the posted one.”

European labour market and posted workers

According to the statistics only one third of all posted workers come from poorer countries to richer ones. Poland (22,7 proc. of all posted workers), Germany (11,7 proc.) and France (6,9 proc.) post the biggest number of workers. However, this group is dominated by the movement of specialists from countries with high earnings. Among them are mainly IT specialists, doctors, mid-level, and senior management. For example in France approx. 44 proc. of posted labourers come from high-earnings countries when only 23 proc. come from poorer ones. Similiar trend can be noticed in other member states e.g. Belgium or Luxembourg which post more workers than receives.


Present challanges and prolems on posting of workers will be discussed on V European Labour Mobility Congress which will take place on 20-21 November 2017 in Kraków.