For LO, it is necessary to strike the right balance between social development in the EU and safeguard the Danish labour market model according to which the main part of regulation is left to the social partners without interference from the government and parliament.
The paper takes a position on current initiatives from the European Commission, among other things the European Pillar of Social Rights, but also major challenges such as Brexit and the fight against social dumping.
The following is an excerpt from the position paper:
?LO?s overall European interests
Which direction should the EU take?
LO?s lobbying in an EU-context is dependent on Denmark?s position in the EU. Denmark is a small and open economy, and Danish workplaces depend on exports – particularly to the EU. Almost 70 % of Danish companies? exports go to EU- member states, and approximately 500,000 Danish jobs depend on the single market. Therefore, it is also in LO?s interest that a number of challenges are solved at the EU-level. This applies to conditions for the free movement of services and labour, social security, health and safety at work, trade and the single market. Together, we must fight social dumping.?
Fighting social dumping
It is crucial to act on a number of issues if we are to stop social dumping. Some solutions are self-evident. Others will require long-term efforts. In both cases, it is necessary for LO to set an ambitious agenda and create the necessary alliances that can contribute to ending social dumping.
The Danish trade union movement must become better at organising foreign workers and we need to make a better effort to explain to foreign companies coming to Denmark why they need to conclude a collective agreement with a Danish trade union. We need to explain that it contributes to ensuring decent conditions at the workplace, happy employees and fewer conflicts. The spread of collective agreements is the best way of ensuring that foreign workers and companies do not undercut Danish pay- and working conditions.
Much more has to be done to ensure that the member states implement and enforce the labour law directives that already exist and which aim to regulate the free movement of labour and services. At the EU-level, there must be greater control with companies and authorities and whether they observe these rules in all member states.
There must be access to enforcement of labour law decisions across borders, and effective rules on enforcement should be ensured. In a Danish context, our legal opt-out presents certain challenges, even if EU-regulation is improved. The geographical location of the workplace should have decisive significance to the choice of law in employment contracts.
Particularly challenging industries and regulatory forum shopping
There is a need for different solutions within the different industries. Building and construction, agriculture and foodstuffs are primarily challenged by foreign service providers and workers coming to Denmark to perform work at a much lower pay and far poorer conditions than the Danish standards.
Transportation is cross-border by nature and is therefore especially vulnerable to social dumping. In addition to this, we are experiencing an increasing liberalization of the industry, unlike previous times when there was a higher extent of state regulation in, aviation, for example.
If the EU does not present legislation that protects workers and trade union rights, we are heading towards a future where underpaid foreign nationals will see to the Danish road haulage and where airlines will exercise regulatory forum shopping based on the national set of rules that has the poorest protection of workers. At the same time, a far greater effort from the EU and member states is required to ensure enforcement of the existing rules. Fighting social dumping in transportation should be one of the EU?s main priorities on the labour market. Otherwise, we risk, in the long run, that European workers become a rarity in the European transportation industry. ?