On 21 June, the EFBWW, the Austrian trade union GBH and the German DGB met Karl Soukup, the director for State Aid of the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp), to discuss the complaint launched in 2019 against the State aid business model used in Slovenia. This system promotes the exploitation of construction workers and is responsible for letting millions of euros in social security and tax revenues escape public authorities.
Although the initial complaint, with substantial legal proof, was launched on 1 February 2019, the process is still at an informal stage, but we expect to receive a formal reply from Slovenia on the accusation before the summer break. On this basis, DG Comp will assess if the “posting bonus” constitutes an illegal state aid.
EFBWW and GBH regret the delays and look forward to a swift and decisive action from the European Commission to stop the state sponsored business model of posting cheap 3rd country workers. The two organisations will contact DG Comp after the summer break to evaluate the state of play.
Tom Deleu, EFBWW general secretary: “It is incomprehensible that a model which questions the very rules of the European Union continues to exist within the EU and with the European authorities’ knowing.”
Josef Muchitsch, GBH president and vice chair of the EFBWW Building Committee: “We cannot wait any longer for EC’s action. Exploited workers cannot wait any longer! Slovenian authorities and the EC must take this seriously and take effective measures to end this state aided business model”.
Slovenia is one of the biggest exporters of foreign workers to European countries, mainly to Austria and Germany. Numerous workers from the Western-Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Croatia, but also from Albania and Armenia) enter the EU via Slovenia and end up being exploited as their social security contributions are calculated based on the wage that they would receive for comparable work in Slovenia.
According to data from the Posting.stat project, almost one third of the construction workers in Slovenia are posted abroad, the highest percentage in the EU. The data shows that 6 out of 10 posted workers from Slovenia are third country nationals and that 4 out of 10 third country nationals employed in Slovenia are posted to another Member State. The system currently still in place allows that an amount of € 128 million in social security contributions is not paid.