Belgium’s Cabinet of Ministers gave the green light on Friday to the transposition into Belgian law of the European directive against social dumping, a process that took some time due to the need to organize social consultations, according to Employment Minister Kris Peeters and the Secretary of State in charge of the fight against social dumping, Philippe de Backer. The directive contains measures for the enforcement of the 1996 European rules on posting workers.
The main aim of transposition is to better adapt the use of posted workers from other EU member states to labour laws applicable in Belgium. The draft defines certain criteria, provides the possibility for the inspection services to require that the social documents are written in one of the national languages or in English, and paves the way for a system of enforcing sanctions that does not clash with the reality of borders. The text also allows for a specific regime of responsibility for salaries on the part of the direct co-contractors, a way of guaranteeing the payment of workers’ salaries in certain construction activities.
In Friday’s edition of La Libre Belgique, Walloon Budget Minister Christophe Lacroix denounced the minimum transposition of the European directive which, he said, could have stemmed from the will to exonerate the very big Class 8 companies from their responsibilities. “I really think there was considerable lobbying by Flemish employers to transpose the European directive in this manner, » the socialist minister said.
Rejecting his analysis, the Minister in charge of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Willy Borsus, countered: «We ‘ve given ourselves the means to enforce the rules: accelerated procedures; increased fines, additional inspectors. »