Working conditions of Polish migrant workers in the Netherlands and the role of recruitment agencies

The Introduction outlines the main research question and the methodology.

Chapter 2 reviews the policy context facing migrant workers in the Netherlands. It looks at the initiatives that have been taken by the Dutch government, including an Action Plan to tackle artificial employment arrangements, which has led to a binding law.

Chapter 3 reviews the current labour situation of Polish migrant workers in the Netherlands, based on media and research reports, and interviews with Polish migrant workers carried out by SOMO and FairWork between 2012 and 2015. Most of the complaints address the recruitment agencies or the companies where the Polish migrant workers are employed.

To identify shortfalls and regulatory opportunities to prevent labour rights violations, Chapter 4 provides a backdrop to agency labour in the Netherlands, describing the liberalisation of the sector and the flexibilisation of labour relations in the Netherlands.

Chapter 5 describes the regulatory framework regarding recruited labour in the Netherlands and discusses the problems that the flexibilisation of labour relations and the (lack of) stricter legal regulation poses for the enforcement of agency workers labour rights.

Chapter 6 outlines the current EU and Dutch supply chain liability regulations, which form an example for other EU countries to improve EU-wide standards to improve labour conditions in subcontracting and other flexible work arrangements.

Chapter 7 summarises the conclusions of the different chapters and provides a number of recommendations to put an end to labour exploitation and unacceptable working conditions for migrant workers in the Netherlands.

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Recommendations

Licensing system and robust inspections are needed

The government should reintroduce a licensing system and robust inspections, and restrict certain internal market freedoms for this sector to uphold European and Dutch social and labour standards.

Direct employment as the main form of employment

The government should aim for direct employment as the gold standard and should be a frontrunner at the EU level, promoting direct employment in the same way as it is currently doing with promoting chain liability in Europe.

Labour inspections need to be improved

Labour inspections should be de-linked from migration and fraud controls, because this creates a barrier to identifying abuse in the workplace.

recommendations background