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ETF Campaign on a European Commission Social Road Initiative
"European Commission Road Initiative: time to respect drivers!"
Two years ago the European Commission engaged in an exercise aiming to clarify, simplify and improve enforceability of the EU legislation in road transport. The declared aims: to tackle social dumping and reinstate the climate of fair competition in the sector. All these were to be addressed in a 3-pillar road initiative. The provisional date for the launch of the initiative is 31 May 2017.
At present, the ETF had concrete proof of the European Commission’s actual future intentions.
The intended measures go much beyond law simplification, clarification. Additionally, they bring no added value from the enforcement perspective. They have the potential to deepen the precariousness of the driver’s profession, the safety of passengers and other road users.
Consequently, on 30 March 2017, the ETF launched a campaign for a European Commission Social Road Initiative, which to make rules more controllable and to effectively address social dumping in the EU road transport sector.
The campaign will run throughout the remaining months to precede the launch of the Initiative!
COMMISSION’S NEW MEASURES TO AFFECT BUS, COACH AND TRUCK DRIVERS
1) Shorter weekly rest and longer driving hours over a period of 3 or 4 consecutive weeks
THE NEW RULES will permit companies to keep the weekly rest down to 3 x 24 hours for three or four consecutive weeks of driving
2) Making it legal to sleep in the vehicle for longer periods of time – mostly concerning freight transport
UNDER THE NEW RULES, if the definition of weekly rest is maintained to an uninterrupted period of 45 hours, this will result in making it legal for companies to force their drivers to sleep in the truck cab for 3 to 4 weeks.
3) The 45-minute daily break will be taken in three slots of 15 minutes each
THE NEW RULES will enable road transport operators to split the break into three slots of 15 minutes each. This will mean pulling off the road into a parking area and having only 15 minutes to ‘refresh’, grab a bite and de-stress before going back into the traffic.
4) And a special ‘something’ for bus and coach drivers only… more consecutive days of driving before taking a day off, and 21 hours less rest per month
UNDER THE NEW RULES, the 12-day derogation will be extended to domestic coach tours too. And drivers working in domestic occasional passenger coach transport, under the new rules, will be driving for eight days in a row, instead of six, without any day of rest.
These measures will lead to:
Increased and cumulated driver fatigue
Worsening working conditions for drivers
Sector to become even less attractive for new entrants
Legalising dumping practices, in as much as forcing drivers to take their weekly rest in the lorry is an economic case feeding into social dumping
Negative impact on road safety
COMMISSION’S CHANGES TO THE APPLICATION OF POSTING OF WORKERS IN ROAD TRANSPORT
If drivers work in and from a Member State temporarily, this is posting. If they work in and from a Member State on permanent basis, they fall under the provisions of the Rome I Regulation and thus they are entitled to the full pack of ‘host’ Member State conditions, including the health coverage and social security.
What is envisaged – applying posting conditions after 5, 7 or 9 days spent on the territory of a Member State
UNDER THE NEW RULES, no matter what type of road transport operation they will be performing, drivers will only be entitled to the pay levels of the Member State hosting their activity after 5, 7 or 9 days of work on its territory. It will thus be perfectly legal for a road transport operator to perform domestic transport in Luxembourg, for 5 to 9 days, with Bulgarian drivers, paying them Bulgarian wages.
THE NEW RULES would also oblige the drivers to record manually, at every stop, the code of the country they are in. This, in the European Commission view, will step up enforcement.
In December 2014, at its first meeting with Commissioner Bulc, the ETF was asked to come up with concrete constructive solutions to fix the problems in the road transport sector i.e. the social dumping practices, the letter-box companies, etc. The ETF has come up with two sets of concrete proposals in this direction, on law enforcement in 2015 and on cabotage and eradication of letter box companies in 2016. None of these proposals have been taken into account so far!
Under related documents you will find the ETF concrete proposals for the road initiative, our detailed position regarding the measures currently under evaluation by the European Commission (EC), as well as other materials used to largely inform the public and the professional drivers on the EC intended measures and their social and safety-related impact.