Labour Exploitation and Posted Workers in the European Construction Industry
Davies, J. 'Labour Exploitation and Posted Workers in the European Construction Industry'. in What is 'European' about White-Collar and Corporate Crimes in Europe? A Collection of Essays. Bristol: Bristol University Press, Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2020
Date Written: April 1, 2020
In late 2019 the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) announced that a construction worker who had been waiting three years for over €8,000 in unpaid wages was among the cases of worker exploitation referred to the new European Labour Authority for investigation (ETUC, 2019). Cases such as this represent how construction workers experience labour exploitation across European countries and industries. Given that the European construction industry is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future (BIM, 2018) , it represents an increasingly important area of investigation for issues associated with labour exploitation and corporate criminology. Labour exploitation can be broadly understood as a spectrum, ranging from criminalised practices such as forced labour, to ‘routine’ breaches of labour or employment legislation (Murphy et al, 2019). The purpose of this chapter is to consider what is ‘European’ about white-collar and corporate crime throughout the European construction industry, with an emphasis on exploitative labour practices and the ‘posting’ of workers. ‘Posting’ refers to the temporary migration of workers sent by their employers to work on projects abroad, which is facilitated under EU free movement of services rules (Lillie, 2012). It is hoped that this chapter will help to frame labour exploitation in the European construction industry through a corporate criminology lens, especially concerning why businesses are able to exploit posted workers in the context of ‘free movement’, as well as how governance gaps serve to maintain weak standards of accountability in this area.
Keywords: posted workers, labour exploitation, construction industry, corporate crime
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