Tackling undeclared work in Europe

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of Bulgaria, with the support of the ITC-ILO and Eurofound, has just concluded an International Conference on Tackling Undeclared Work in the EU, at which an important trilateral cooperation agreement was signed.

Undeclared work threatens to undermine the EU´s ability to meet its employment targets for more and better jobs and for stronger growth.  It is a form of social dumping that introduces unfair competition among firms on the basis of low wages and the non-payment of social security benefits. Above all, it leads to working situations that violate the rights and dignity of workers.

The International Conference on Tackling Undeclared Work in the EU was sponsored by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Eurofound and the ITC-ILO. The social partners, Ministers of Labour and heads of labour inspectorates of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania took part in a debate on the role of labour administration, the informal economy and tripartite challenges to undeclared work.  Different sessions were chaired by Ms. Susanne Hoffman, ILO Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Mr. Mark Levin, Director of the  DWCO in Budapest, and Ms. Maria Luz Vega, a senior specialist on labour administration and labour inspection.

The main goals of the Conference were:

  • to take stock of undeclared work in the European Union and to examine ways of tackling it;
  • to sign a trilateral cooperation agreement on undeclared work between the Ministries of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania as a pilot joint effort to combat the informal economy.

This trilateral agreement on handling undeclared work is the first ever signed between more than two countries. The geo-political context of the three neighboring EU-member countries makes it extremely important.

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