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Talking Europe

The problem with posted workers: Free movement or free labour?

Freedom of movement is one of the founding principles of the EU, but this week we’re looking at one of the possible costs of such freedom in one specific sector: posted workers. These are employees sent to carry out a service in another EU country on a temporary basis. According to EU rules, they should be paid the minimum wage of the host country. But that can still mean that they earn far less than local workers.


Proposals to ensure the same pay for the same work in the same place are creating clashes among EU countries. France and Germany in particular are calling for reforms to the rules, saying that the status quo can lead to social dumping. But a number of mainly central and eastern European countries are against any change, saying that if the monetary costs go up, the number of their nationals employed could go down.

So where is the balance between the EU's freedom of movement and abusing the system for cheap labour?

A programme presented by Eve Irvine

Produced by Isabelle Romero and Anais Guerard

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