‘Spaniards are taking our jobs’: French builders

'Spaniards are taking our jobs': French builders
France's minimum wage is almost double that of Spain's Photo: Libertinus/Flickr
French builders claim Spanish companies are stealing work from them, paying lower wages and cutting corners to win construction contracts.

"The Spanish have much lower wages so they can always undercut us," Patrick La Carrere, head of the builders' federation in southwest France told business site Bloomberg recently. 

Minimum wages in France are now almost double that of Spain's (€1,445, or $1960, a month against €753).

And with the Spanish fleeing their own construction slump and an unemployment rate of 27.6 percent, France is facing an influx of Spanish construction companies.

Now France's flurry of foreign EU workers, numbering 170,000 in 2012, has also spurred the country's right-wing Front National party to call for changes to the EU's 'posted worker' legislation.

These laws let workers from one EU nation work in another for up to two years and still pay tax back home — even if they are still theoretically obeying the laws of the country where they are operating.

"We thought for a long time we were in an industry that couldn't be shifted offshore," Didier Ridoret, president of the French Constructors' Federation told Bloomberg.

"Instead, the reverse happened: the offshore came to us."

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