‘I name on member states to fight social dumping’: EU jobs commissioner Nicolas Schmit | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Issued on:

Talking Europe interviews the EU commissioner in command of jobs and social rights, Nicolas Schmit. He speaks to the significance of defending employees, significantly the “gig” or “platform” employees, whose standing is on the core of a dispute between the European Commission and a number of other EU member states. He additionally addresses the problem of “social dumping” – individuals being paid beneath their degree of abilities – a problem of relevance not solely to EU employees, but in addition to Ukrainian refugees which were granted permission to dwell and work within the EU. Plus, he explains the implementation of the EU Directive on sufficient minimal wages, as financial circumstances in Europe threaten individuals’s buying energy; particularly that of poorer members of society.

Against the backdrop of the “European Year of Skills”, Schmit emphasises that folks ought to be paid based on their competencies and diplomas, and that they need to not be undervalued. “It is in our interest to use people’s skills at the right level,” he says. “And I really appeal to member states, to social partners, to services, to employers, to unions, to combat social dumping very efficiently.”

In the case of Ukrainian refugees who’ve been granted the proper to dwell and work within the EU below the Temporary Protection Directive, Schmit says: “I cannot totally exclude that cases of social dumping have happened. There are Ukrainian doctors who cannot work as doctors because we do not recognise their diplomas, although we have shortages in that sector. So there is margin for improvement here; there is not an absolute correspondence between Ukrainian diplomas and EU ones, but we are working on that.”

Schmit says he can’t “hide a certain disappointment” that the Platform Workers’ Directive is now being delayed, regardless of an earlier settlement that was struck after two years of negotiations. This implies that some gig or platform employees – for instance meals supply bike couriers – won’t be reclassified as workers, and thus not get pleasure from sure social protections. “There had been a hard negotiation to achieve an agreement, but unfortunately this did not find a qualified majority in the EU Council,” Schmit feedback. “Now, I fully trust the Belgian EU presidency to relaunch this negotiation. I know that the Belgian presidency is very committed to finding a compromise, because it is absolutely necessary to give hundreds of thousands of gig workers fair labour rights and fair working conditions. We cannot disappoint them.”

Schmit has championed the minimal wage throughout Europe. On the transposition of the Directive on sufficient minimal wages into nationwide legislations, he says: “The process is ongoing, with a deadline at the end of this year. We are discussing with and assisting member states. But what we notice now, especially in this period of higher prices and inflation, is that many member states have increased minimum wages in order to guarantee purchasing power. So the Directive has already had an impact. This process is very important in the context of stronger social and wage convergence in Europe. We cannot build a Europe with, on the one side, higher wages, better wages, and in other parts of Europe low wages and bad working conditions.”

Schmit briefly reacts to stories that his title has been circulating because the potential lead candidate for the European Socialists within the June 2024 EU elections. “The procedure is ongoing and, probably in a relatively short time, we will know more about it. As I’ve said, if I’m asked to take this job, I will reflect on it and I can say that I will accept it.”

Produced by Isabelle Romero, Sophie Samaille, Perrine Desplats and Juliette Laurain