What is the perspective of a host country?

Mijke Houwerzijl

We invite you to watch a brief video conversation with Dr. Mijke Houwerzijl – a professor of Labour Law at Tilburg University who also teaches at the University of Groningen. Dr. Houwerzijl explains the perspective of a Member State hosting posted workers.

The source of competitiveness of foreign service companies are primarily high skilled workers, and, secondly, relatively lower costs of their employment. It is extremely difficult to prove whether this phenomenon actually leads to the replacement of local workers by posted workers. Thus, by entrusting provision of services to a company form another country, local workers often do not even have the possibility to apply for the available positions. Taking on the execution of the service, a foreign company takes over the responsibility for recruitment, training, insurance and the employment of workers. From the perspective of a contractor from the host country, the use of services of a foreign company is cheap, convenient and secure. Finding a balance between the protection of the principle of a competitive market economy, freedom to provide cross-border services, and the protection of the local labour market is a very difficult challenge.

In the host Member States there are still occurring violations or abuses of the freedom to provide services. The recently revealed situation, involving a group of Portuguese workers based in the Netherlands, who were forced to pay for their travel and accommodation expenses the amount of 1,000 Euro while the actual cost, covered by the employer, did not exceed 100 euros is an example of the exploitation of workers, which also negatively affects legally operating companies. The improvement of the system of control measures is, in the long run, in the interests of honest traders.

In recent years Dr. Mijke Houwerzijl was involved as a lead researcher and coordinator of three major commissioned research projects of the European Commission on legal aspects of posting of workers.