Reuters International

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary opposes a European Union plan to equalise pay between seconded and local workers as it would pose an "unacceptable competitive disadvantage" to Hungarian companies, a government spokesman said on Monday.

Poland also rejects the proposed changes put forward by the EU executive and hopes to block them together with other poorer countries in the bloc, Polish diplomatic sources said last week.

The number of seconded or "posted" workers, employed in one EU state but temporarily sent to work in another, has jumped in recent years. There were some 1.9 million posted workers in the EU in 2014, the most recent data shows.

Employers are not now obliged to pay posted workers more than the minimum wage in the host country, which leads to underpayment of posted workers and competition between firms employing seconded or local workers. The European Commission has proposed equalising the pay of the two categories.

"The planned measure would be disadvantageous to us, and would threaten the jobs of tens of thousands of Hungarians, for example those truck drivers working in the international road haulage sector," the government spokesman said.

He said the planned measure would oblige foreign companies to pay higher wages to workers than local firms, which could still pay wages between the minimum wage and the average wage.

"This would bring about an unacceptable competitive disadvantage for Hungarian companies," the government spokesman said, adding that several other Central European countries thought the planned changes "do not serve national interests."

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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