Posting of workers: From a blurred notion associated with ‘cheap labour’ to a tool for ‘fair labour mobility’?

Mijke Houwerzijl, L.E. Berntsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Houwerzijl and Berntsen explore the tensions between the EU legal framework governing posting and the realities on the ground. Too often, they argue, policy debates are dominated by a narrow understanding of posting, which focuses mainly on legal definitions rather than on the practices of posting actors. Combining legal analysis with primary interviews with posting actors, as well as drawing on the empirical literature on posting, Houwerzijl and Berntsen show that firms see posting as a way to engage a highly flexible and exploitable workforce. Firm posting practices centre around reducing labour costs and increasing flexibility, if necessary by evading local labour laws and
norms, as a way of gaining a competitive edge. Posting is not so much a discrete form of employment as it is one of several parallel recruitment modalities used to establish a flexible European labour market governed by neither host nor sending country. This contrasts with the underlying assumptions behind the European legislation and CJEU case law, which insist that posted workers are embedded in their home country labour markets and never enter into the host country labour market. The chapter offers up hope in the form of regulatory initiatives being undertaken at the EU level, based on the now increasingly influential ‘broad’ notion of posting: these initiatives, however, remain politically controversial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPosted work in the European Union, the political economy of free movement
EditorsJens Arnholtz, Nathan Lillie
Pages147 - 166
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-03102-1
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-14271-1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Employment Relations

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Posting of workers: From a blurred notion associated with ‘cheap labour’ to a tool for ‘fair labour mobility’?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this