Long-distance drivers in the EU get better legal working conditions

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The rules stipulate that truck drivers will no longer be able to spend their statutory breaks in the vehicle in the future. Your roster must also allow regular trips home. For example, the “nomadism” in the long-distance driving sector denounced by Ismael Ertug, a traffic expert from the European SPD, is to be ended.

To prevent wage dumping, the drivers are also subject to the social law provisions of the country of residence for longer stays abroad, with a few exceptions. Electronic tachographs are mandatory for control purposes. There are additional provisions against mailbox companies so that forwarding companies do not simply choose their headquarters – and thus the wage level.

The new EU guidelines “will prevent companies from robbing drivers of their family and social life and cheating them on adequate pay and social security,” said the ETUC. “Abuses such as tired drivers on the streets, manipulable control devices and mailbox companies in the east can now be effectively combated,” said Markus Ferber (CSU), MEP.

The Romanian Association of Freight Forwarders, on the other hand, complained that the rules would “bury” their industry. Combined with the consequences of the Corona crisis, it can be expected that a third of the companies in the industry will go bankrupt.

The EU Commission presented the 2017 reform plans. As a result, a violent dispute broke out both among the Member States and in the EU Parliament. Particularly from Germany, France and the Benelux countries came demands for strict guidelines, also to prevent wage dumping of Eastern European forwarding companies. In return, Poland, Bulgaria and others accused their western neighbors of protectionism.

Eventually the Eastern Europeans were overruled. In the Council of Member States, the western position was pushed through at the end of 2018 against resistance from nine countries by majority vote. A flood of hundreds of amendments in the EU Parliament could not prevent a positive vote shortly before the EU election last spring. The negotiators of the two institutions subsequently agreed accordingly.

In April, a group of mostly eastern countries failed to attempt to overturn the reform project with reference to the consequences of the Corona crisis on the transport sector. In the newly elected EU Parliament, where the agreement had to be confirmed once again, there were now dozens of amendments, which however did not find a majority.

“The fight is not over yet,” announced Polish MEP Kosma Zlotowski. Certain Member States would “certainly” take legal action to the European Court of Justice against this “clear example of economic protectionism”.

The new provisions on the statutory break times and roster requirements will come into force in a few weeks. There is a transition period of 18 months for the implementation of new cabotage rules, i.e. if a foreign company provides a delivery service entirely within another country, and the social law provisions.

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