S&Ds lead fight to ban zero-hour contracts and better protect vulnerable workers in the EU

Responding to the needs of vulnerable workers who are trapped in abusive, flexible contracts, the Socialists and Democrats led today in the employment and social affairs committee a majority to improve working conditions and set new rights for millions of workers across the EU. The vote today paves the way to better protect workers in precarious jobs, and make them more aware of their rights. In spite of efforts from the EPP and the ECR to water down the Directive, S&Ds managed to mobilise a majority to deliver on the promises of the European Social Pillar, adopted in Gothenburg in November 2017.

Javi López, S&D MEP and responsible for the revision of the Written Statement Directive, stated:

“Today’s vote in the employment committee is good news for all European workers and especially the ones in exploitative working conditions. In spite of efforts from the conservatives to give employers even more flexibility than they already have, today’s vote is clear on the need to better protect millions of workers across the EU, including platform workers, on-demand workers, the bogus self-employed and those in zero-hour contracts.

“We S&Ds have fought tooth and nail for the minimum social standards and rights for workers adopted today. We ensured equal pay and conditions and social protection for workers regardless their type of employment relationship. More specifically, we have introduced obligations for member states to tackle zero-hour contracts and we have significantly limited probationary periods. Employers also need to notify workers of assignments earlier, and pay if an assignment is cancelled at the last minute. If not, employers will face sanctions. Training will be considered as working time and paid for by the employer.”

Agnes Jongerius, MEP and S&D spokesperson on employment and social affairs, added:

“All workers deserve decent working conditions. Our vote today sets out standards of protection for workers, and quite frankly, standards of decency for employers. From the moment you start a new job, your employer has to inform you about your rights. I am proud of our fight for closing the legal loopholes that malicious employers use to keep workers from claiming their rights. Social protection, decent working conditions and clear obligations for employers must be guaranteed.”

Note to editors:

The European Parliament will soon enter into negotiations with the member states on the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive as soon as the mandate is confirmed next week in Strasbourg.