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Right question – wrong answer





(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)

Day of victory January 6 attacks my statement in the Christmas issue of New Time. He claims that I believe social dumping is a myth, and that it is wrong that I believe the proposed Services Directive does not increase the risk of social dumping. None of his claims are completely correct.

However, I can understand that Seierstad thinks I think social dumping is a myth, since Ny Tid so freely gave my statement the heading "Social dumping a myth" without asking me. The original headline was "The Services Directive and the Norwegian debate".

Social dumping is a reality and often occurs. However, social dumping does occur not because we have an EU that opens the borders for the free movement of labor, goods, services and capital – it is an act of solidarity that helps to lift poorer countries in Europe. The EU has established rules to protect workers during increased competition. The problem that creates social dumping is that the individual countries do not enforce the rules, and that there is a business culture that says that it is all right to exploit people.

Before Christmas there was a huge spread in the Norwegian media about how the Food Safety Authority in various cities had discovered serious violations of the hygiene regulations. The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority must be given the means to work equally thoroughly with Norwegian employers. We have the opportunity to ensure that everyone who works in Norway has safe and good working conditions. It is about a willingness to check that the rules are followed.

Social dumping can just as much take place within a single small market, such as a kiosk or taxi industry – where foreign labor is used to a small extent. Social dumping is about the fact that there are no satisfactory controls and social mechanisms to secure the individual employee against exploitation. It is true that increased competition can lead to increased social dumping, but there is no legality, as Seierstad seems to think.

The Services has many flaws and shortcomings, as I pointed out before Christmas, but in itself does not create social dumping. With the changes it seems to be making, there will no longer be any doubt that it will not weaken control opportunities for employers.

Dag Seierstad asks the right question when he points out that there are many powerless people who are exposed to social dumping, but he gives the wrong answer when he insinuates that increased competition means social dumping. He balances even further out on the line when he places the blame for German unemployment on foreign labor.

The answer we should give, is to strengthen the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority. In addition, the trade union movement should become better at engaging in industries that currently have few collective agreements and a low degree of organization – such as service-providing industries where part-time working youth are grossly exploited.

Christer Gulbrandsen, political scientist.

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