The second day started for MEPs with presentation of the Council’s amendments for the Directive on the working conditions for temporary workers. Commissioner outlined the draft and ministers of Belgium and France defended the three amendments introduced.
“Our aim is harmonization within the EU,” – clarified the Commissioner to the press. “We need a minimum protection in ALL countries. There will be no “race to the bottom.” The draft is seen as a “long time investment,” since some countries already have good legislation in place, however other like UK, Ireland, or Denmark don’t even have a definition of “temporary agency work”. She stressed that the topic is urgent, since temporary work in EU rose in the last years, comprising 2% of the labor market.
As parliamentarians split into factions to specify their positions on the topic, the press approached chairs in search for a forecast:
– I would expect this directive to be adopted…
– Really? You just never know!
Later Marilena Zidianaki explained her skepticism: “The parliament is very sneaky: you can never predict what will happen there. I expect the leader of Greens to mess up with everything again, just as yesterday.”
‘Messing up’ already erupted during the informal debate. The members of EPP started with stressing necessity of European regulation, and ended up with concerns over ruining the “existing balance”. Opening statements turned out to be a perfect reflection of the ‘couloir talks.’
“We are in favor of flexibility rather than security, but we will respect suggestions from the S&D,” said the EPP speaker and added “Please remember, we have quite a few votes in the Parliament”.
As expected, the S&D leader expressed concern about lack of social security, since “giving the member states more freedom undermines the whole directive.”
“We can only conclude that it is a piece of crap,” opened his speech the speaker of ALDE. “Human dignity means to have a job. You are prohibiting jobs and human dignity.”
Greens decided to focus on the rights of young employees: “Temporary agencies are masked as training and internships. We should get young people into jobs, not place the new sector for unemployment,” and added “We strongly believe that if you create a separate sector on labor market for temporary workers, one will inevitably undermine another”
“Principle of worker protection is a good principle,” addressed the audience speaker of ECR. “I keep receiving mails from my voters that they are afraid of losing their jobs”. ECR proposed introduction of transitional period of one month, prohibiting the workers of getting all the rights from the first day of employment.
EFD referred to the immigrant issues: “This directive raises costs for employers. It will only increase the flow of migrants to the EU,” and added that the directive is “not useful”.
“This house is on fire!” concluded one of the chairs. “Parties seem to really stick to their general positions”, noted another chair Ioan Bucuras earlier. “Looks like there will be consensus at least in terms of number of the sits.” The JEUrnal will keep you updated.
by Vera Djemelinskaia