Construction unions criticises new rules on posting of workers

In July 1999, the Danish Ministry of Labour proposed draft legislation aimed at transposing the 1996 EU Directive on posted workers. In October 1999, building and construction workers' unions criticised the proposal on the grounds of the "loophole" that Danish rules would not apply to construction workers posted to Denmark to carry out work for a private person.

John Larsen, the chair of the Cartel of Building, Construction and Woodworkers' Unions (Bygge-, Anlægs- og Trækartellet, Bat-kartellet) - affiliated to the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO) - has sharply criticised the Ministry of Labour's proposal, made at the end of July 1999, for new rules on the posting of workers. The proposal (Udkast til forslag til lov om udstationering af lønmodtagere) seeks to transpose into Danish law the EU Directive concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (96/71/EC). The basic principle of the Directive is that a basic core of working conditions and pay provisions in effect in a Member State should be applicable both to workers from that state, and those from other EU countries posted to work there. The core rules include matters such as working time, holidays, minimum pay rates, health and safety and equality.

Workers posted to Denmark to work in the construction industry would be covered by the terms of Danish collective agreements in the sector. However, in an editorial in the cartel's magazine, BAT-News, on 6 October 1999, Mr Larsen expressed discontent with the fact that the Minister's proposal implies that cases of posting in which the work is carried out for a private person are exempt from coverage by such agreements: "we simply will not accept that the government allows an Act which leaves a major loophole for the evasion of contents of the legislation, which is closely linked to our collective agreements."

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