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EU needs labour mobility based on equality and rights, not exile and exploitation


16 Dec 2015


Social Europe & Jobs
Justice & Home Affairs

During last night's debate in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL MEPs called for improved labour rights and conditions throughout the EU in order for labour mobility to serve the needs of all Europeans.

Spanish MEP, Tania González Peñas, described the reality of labour mobility in Europe: "More than two million Spanish people are now living abroad. Many of them had to choose between unemployment at home and low-paid precarious jobs elsewhere. This isn't labour mobility, it's a form of labour exile."

"These individuals are fighting for a better future. Yet, this is a major 'brain drain' which has had detrimental social and economic effects in Spain."  

González Peñas also called for European solutions: "What we need is a new approach which is based on equality and solidarity, rather than creating second-class citizens. Mobility is important, but it must not be forced mobility, it must be voluntary."

Portuguese MEP, Inês Cristina Zuber, described a similar reality: "More than 500,000 young Portuguese people emigrated over the last few years, trying to find dignified work – something that is not available in their own country."

"These are highly qualified young people who are placing their abilities and qualifications at the services of countries like the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany – countries where these young workers are often exploited.

"These are problems that must be resolved. Working people need their rights to be implemented throughout the European Union, including our own country," Zuber urged.

French MEP, Patrick Le Hyaric, added: "The right to mobility can be seen as a way to pit workers against each other in competition. Through the Services Directive and the Posting of Workers Directive, the EU has organised this competition to help companies expand their profits."

"We need to reassert the equality of workers and their rights to better labour legislation, salaries and conditions. This is only possible if we have a European labour inspectorate to enforce the legislation. This will require a reformulation of the Posting of Workers Directive as well as other measures. The European Union should be a place of social progress and solidarity among workers, not just competition," Le Hyaric concluded.

View press release online


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh  +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group