An own-initiative report on a European Commission proposal to step up efforts to combat undeclared work was approved by a big majority in the EP Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Undeclared work, which in some Member States accounts of 20% of GDP, is a worrying feature of Europe's labour markets, say MEPs.Undeclared work risks undermining the European social model and distorting competition on the single market. It also leads to social dumping, notes the report byPier Antonio Panzeri (PES, IT). Furthermore, immigrants, particularly illegal ones, are more exposed to the risks of undeclared work.
MEPs ask that Europe's efforts to combat be made more operational and more incisive, to prevent the modernisation of labour law in Europe from remaining a mere theoretical construct.
Better European co-ordination
MEPs call on the Commission to consider establishing a database on the various approaches and methodologies used to measure undeclared workin theMember States so as to promote the sharing of good practice and knowledge transfer in this area.
They also call for the EU to play a greater role in promoting co-operation and co-ordination among labour inspectorates, by strengthening the economic and technological resources of inspection services.
Undeclared work has various definitions in the national legal systems, and adefinitioncommon to all Member States would ultimately eliminate statistical uncertainties. The Commission's proposed distinction between legal and illegal activities can be used as a starting point,say MEPs.
Encourage the formal economy
The committee asks Member States to consider improving incentives to declare work and to impose tough sanctions on employers whom, despite benefiting from incentive measures, continue to employ undeclared workers.
MEPs also call for better enforcement of existing minimum wage legislation in each Member State and urges those Member States that do not currently have a decent minimum wage to consider developing one, in negotiation with the social partners and in accordance with national practices.
Free movement of workers in the EU
Finally, Member States that have applied transitional arrangements to the free movement of workers in the EU are asked to open up their labour markets to workers from all the new Member States, given that restrictions not only run counter to the EU's founding principles, but increase recourse to undeclared work and could create territorial imbalances, stresses the report.
The report was adopted with 41 votes in favour, 2 against and 4 abstentions.
09/09/2008In the chair : Jan ANDERSSON (PES, SE) Procedure: own-initiative report -- Plenary vote: October