Social fraud still a big problem in construction
During 2014 the Social Inspectorate carried out a total of 15,000 inspections across various branches of industry. The Sunday freesheet ‘De Zondag’ reports that in just over one third of cases (5,568) employers were found be in contravention of the rules on issues such as social dumping.
The problem of social dumping is particularly acute in the construction industry where foreign builders are forced to work in sub-standard conditions, often earning less that the legal minimum wage. In some cases employers don’t pay the statutory social security contribution for their foreign workers.
The Federal Secretary of State responsible for tackling social fraud Bart Tommelein (Flemish liberal) told the paper that a retalively high proportion of the inspections carried out on building sites uncovered social fraud.
"60% of the self-employed people and 64% of employed people from another EU country that are working in Belgium temporarily were found to be breaking the rules”, Mr Tommelein told the paper. Mr Tommelein was also keen to stress that the inspections had been carried out on the basis of data mining with inspectors only visiting those companies and sites in where there was suspicion that something was amiss.
Mr Tommelein says that the abuse of the European Secondment Directive is the biggest problem. He hopes that the European Commission can be convinced to give the member states greater powers to investigate suspected social fraud involving companies that are based in other EU countries.
Mr Tommelein has already discussed this with the European Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen