On the eve of the first three-way talks on Directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers, members of the European Parliament objected strongly to a race to the bottom on social conditions in Europe. Meeting on 14 January in Strasbourg, they urged the EU to step up the fight against undeclared work and to guarantee adequate social protection for all workers. "National labour inspections play an important role in implementing social legislation and guaranteeing a level playing field in the EU. [ ] Labour inspections suffer from a lack of staff and are hampered in their effort to engage in cross-border cooperation," commented German member Jutta Steinruck (S&D), who penned the own-initiative report on effective labour inspections.

The resolution, adopted by a large majority, calls for labour inspections to be carried out by independent public sector bodies assisted if need be by representatives of the social partners. It invites the 28 to boost the staffing of and resources allocated to their labour inspectorates and to achieve the goal of one inspector for 10,000 workers, in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO) recommendations. MEPs also encourage member states to impose tougher penalties on companies that do not comply with obligations related to workers' basic rights (salaries, working time and workplace health and safety). They call for the creation of additional tripartite, sectoral inspectorates and, as a...

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