Robert Huberty (left) and Nicolas Schmit (centre) at a press conference introducing the “social badge”
Labour law: Luxembourg’s government is issuing temporary employee ID cards to crack down on the abuse of foreign workers on short-term assignment in the Grand Duchy.
The labour inspector will introduce “social badges” to posted workers in the construction sector as part of a campaign to clamp down on illegal work practices.
Badges will be distributed to all “detached” employees, or staff sent by their employer in other countries to work in the Grand Duchy on temporary assignment, the labour ministry and labour inspection service ITM said on Wednesday.
Each badge will include a bar code that can be scanned by inspectors’ iPads, to check if all administrative declarations have been correctly filed.
ITM said there were an estimated 50,000 posted construction workers in Luxembourg, and it had recorded numerous cases where employees were not paid minimum wage, not paid for working overtime hours, and housed in unsanitary conditions. ITM director Robert Huberty said in a press statement that the use of badges would help “reduce the rate” of labour code violations.
The government said there were more than 11,000 officially registered detached workers across all sectors in Luxembourg as of December 2012. That figure included 7,613 Germans, 1,285 Belgians and 958 French. There were also 170 Romanians, an increase of 1,600% from December 2011, and 96 Portuguese, a gain of more than 50% from the year before.
Construction sector is priority
A spokeswoman for the government campaign told Delano on Wednesday that “all industries with [detached employees] will have to do the ‘social badge’ but the priority is the construction sector, because it is the sector with the most” posted workers.
She said figures on how many employee complaints had been filed with ITM and how many fines had been issued last year were not available.
However an industry source has told Delano that many foreign-born construction workers, including EU nationals, did not report labour violations out of “fear” of retributions from their employers. “They’re afraid, they’re afraid,” the source stressed.
Labour minister Nicolas Schmit said in a statement that social badges “were just the first step in reducing ‘social dumping’”.
Social badges have already been trialled in a small number of companies, the government said, with widespread distribution set to take place next year.