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Major Contractors to be Hit With Foreign Labour Wage Claims

A legal change designed to prevent UK contractors from using cheap migrant labour has been slipped into a new directive launched to help enforce the EU posted workers directive.

The original EU posted workers directive has been in place for a number of years, introduced to stop posted workers being paid less than native workers, thereby undercutting local jobs and making a mockery of national wage agreements.  Yet this directive has been ignored by numerous major British contractors. The directive also ensures that migrant or “posted” workers receive a fair rate and are not exploited in the UK.

The flagrant disregard for this directive has forced the Government to take tougher action. The new legal change could mean that contractors paying less for posted workers could be subject to top up wage claims. This will also be the case if contractors take on EU sub-contractors who undercut UK national trade rates in a bid to lower costs.

These top up wage claims will ensure that any worker posted in the UK will receive UK rates, if that rate is higher than the national level in the worker’s home country. Not only will this move help prevent local industries and subcontractors losing out because of a discrepancy between wages in the EU, it will also help to ensure much greater visibility of the issue within the industry.

The new system hopes to not only remove the financial incentive for contractors to bring in cheaper EU subcontractors, it also intends to report instances of EU workers being used in the UK more systematically.

Have you been affected by the use of cheaper EU labour in your industry? Perhaps you are a posted EU worker yourself, what has been your experience? Share your thoughts with other tradespeople below.