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ETF campaign on “Respect for Minimum Wage”
ETF/ITF International action week demands respect for the minimum wage in the EU Road Transport sector
Today 3 October 2016 the International Transport Workers’ Federation celebrates 20 years of International Action Week for Road transport. The ETF, ITF and its affiliated members start the action week by urging the European Commission to take measures in support, and not against, the respect of the minimum wage in the EU.
Tens of hundreds of professional drivers from low-wage countries work on permanent basis in Western Europe, on ‘country of origin’ levels of pay, which are up to ten times less than those of the Member States hosting their activity. This is in breach of Art. 45 of the EU Treaty, of the Posting of workers directive and of the Rome I Regulation.
These so called non-resident drivers are skilled certified professionals bearing a substantial share of responsibility for the safety of road users, of cargo and passengers. They come into the profession with the hope to provide a better life for themselves and for their families, to only soon realise they are victims of abuse, fraud and discrimination in terms of pay, access to social security and health benefits.
In recent years, wage discrimination has been one of the major sources of growing discontent among non-resident professional drivers. They find it unacceptable that - in a social Europe of laws and treaties protecting rights of EU citizens’ - when working in and from France or Germany they are paid country of origin wages, while French and German drivers carrying out the same work are paid significantly higher French, respectively German wages. They find it even more unacceptable that ‘Europe punishes those governments who want drivers to gain some decent life, for all those months and years spent away from family in a cramped lorry cabin’, as recently expressed by a group of truck drivers interviewed by the ETF.
Mid-2017, the European Commission will launch a revision of the EU legislation in road transport. The ETF and its member organisations see this as the last chance to solve problems of a sector eroded by social dumping, modern slavery working and living conditions and unfair competition. More generally, the EC road initiative will give a clear signal on the kind of Europe Brussels is willing to offer to people.
For the truck, bus and coach drivers, this revision covering more than 10 pieces of EU legislation will be a matter of either gain or loss: losing or gaining confidence in the EU and its social project! A gaining or losing matter this will equally be for the EU legislator: gaining or losing credibility! Equal pay for equal work of equal value stays at the core of drivers’ expectations.
For further information, please follow us on Twitter @ETF_Road and visit the ITF AW blog.