RG - Human Trafficking & Slavery - Social Dumping

Question:

Could someone please expand on what is the term “Social Dumping” refers to in regards to AHT? I do not recall it being mentioned in the UK Modern Slavery Act or other material provided by Assent. Would you be able to speak to whether there are any applicable regulatory requirements and whether the topic is monitored by specific NGO’s.

Answer:

Though there is no legally recognized and universally shared definition of social dumping, I would take guidance from the EU since it's where most of the dialogue is happening.

The European Parliament uses a definition that defines social dumping in terms of respecting or failing to respect the law (including collective agreements):

"Though there is no legally recognised and universally shared definition of social dumping, the concept covers a wide range of intentionally abusive practices and the circumvention of existing European and national legislation (including laws and universally applicable collective agreements), which enable the development of unfair competition by unlawfully minimising labour and operation costs and lead to violations of workers' rights and exploitation of workers (...)"

The European Commission is currently undertaking a number of initiatives to level playing field and fair competition across the EU and to eliminate social dumping. For instance, on 8 March 2016 the European Commission proposed a revision of the rules on posting of workers within the European Union to ensure they remain fit for purpose (COM(2016) 0128 final) - procedure file 2016/0070 (COD). The aim of this proposal is to facilitate the provision of services across borders within a climate of fair competition and respect for the rights of posted workers, who are employed in one Member State and sent to work temporarily in another by their employer. More specifically, the initiative aims at ensuring fair wage conditions and a level playing field between posting and local companies in the host country. Currently, employers are not obliged to pay a posted worker more than the minimum rate of pay set by the host country, which can create wage differences between posted and local workers and potentially lead to unfair competition between companies.

NGOs and social partner organizations, including those in the construction, food industry and transport sectors, are also undertaking initiatives to take steps on the issue of social dumping. For instance, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) launched a campaign in 2016 to curb social dumping in the transport sector.

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