ETUC Congress - BTB intervention about social dumping

Intervention by Veronique De Roeck about social dumping at the 14th Congress of the ETUC.

My name is Véronique De Roeck and I represent the transport section of ABVV Belgium.

Over the last years, more and more workers in different industries have become the victim of social dumping. These victims work in the construction, cleaning or meat industry, even in IT, and of course not in the least in the transport sector. We all know the stories of East-European truck drivers camping on parking areas, going on for weeks without having the opportunity to see their families.

The competition between workers is still being organized in the working place and this leads to unbearable situations where for example Roumanian and Polish truck drivers, doing exactly the same work as their Belgian colleagues, earn three or even four times less the hourly wage their colleagues receive.
We all know the key to “success” of the low cost aviation companies like Ryanair, with crew based in Belgium or Italy but employed in Ireland, thus being denied their union rights.

Still we have to realize that when we talk about social dumping, the cause and the solution are often the same: the European Union.

The European Union opened up the economic markets to the free passage of people, goods and services. However what lacked, and still is lacking, is a powerful social pillar of the European Union. A social pillar that is binding!

This aspect was severely neglected by many because of corparate greed to make more profit for their shareholders. No matter what the consequences for the workers.

It is true that the last few years the topic of social dumping has been discussed at a European level and that some good things came out of these negotiations: the revision of the directive for the posting of workers, the new mobility package, the European Labour Authority, ...
There is progress, but not nearly enough.

The ELA is a good initiative. But we have to make sure that this initiative doesn’t become a tiger without teeth, without any power. What we need is a real European social inspection service, that can act on own initiative, with enough men and women power to tackle the organizers and order givers of social dumping.

It is unacceptable that the transport workers are excluded from the directive on posting.

The new mobility package is an honorable compromise, but still far from what we asked for.

We must be clear: we refuse the race to the bottom. We refuse competition between workers and on the back of workers. We want fair and decent working conditions for all workers in Europe.

Social dumping has lead to the situation that European citizens no longer have faith in the institution European Union. If we want another Europe, we have to deal with this situation.

That is why we want the ETUC to continue its battle against social dumping and to make it one of its priorities, working together with the European Federations.