A line in the sand for transport liberalisation: European Parliament rejects harsh proposals on pay and rest time for drivers

4 Jul 2018

The European Transport Workers’ Federation has scored a major victory in the long-running saga of the EU Mobility Package. After months of debate and union action, the majority of MEPs outright rejected the proposed European Parliament positions on all three aspects that affect workers: pay for posted workers; driving and rest time; deliveries within another EU state (cabotage). The result? Everything goes back to the Transport Committee and drafting begins again.

With the Member States in the Council of the EU also bitterly divided, it seems that final agreement on the Mobility Package is still far away. But one thing is clear: MEPs will not accept a hyperliberal reform of the road transport sector like the one that was rejected today.

Frank Moreels, ETF President welcomed the result as “a victory for workers, the ETF and trade unions across Europe. The biggest risk was that the European Parliament would adopt disastrous positions, where international drivers would work longer hours with less frequent time off – and all for less pay than local workers. The ETF has worked tirelessly to convince MEPs that such reforms would be bad for road safety and the fair treatment of workers. I’m pleased that we convinced them, because a Europe that undermines jobs and traps workers in unfair conditions is a Europe that loses the trust of its citizens.”

Roberto Parrillo, President of the ETF Road Section, called on MEPs to get back to work. “We’re delighted that MEPs rejected the worst-case options, but Europe’s 3 million professional drivers are left in limbo. What rules can they expect to apply to the sector? There were many positive amendments on the voting programme today, but they were also rejected. Our politicians need to listen to workers and their unions, get back to the Committee, and design a Mobility Package that meets the EU’s promise for a fairer, more social Europe!”

Eduardo Chagas, ETF General Secretary, pledged that workers and unions would keep up the pressure. “We will not give up the fight for a decent Mobility Package, a key pillar of our Fair Transport campaign against social dumping in Europe. Our demands are clear and reasonable: equal pay from the very first day for international drivers; no sleeping in vehicles at the weekend; a safe amount of rest time to protect drivers, passengers and all road users. Politicians at the European Parliament and in national capitals need to deliver.”


For more information and interviews with workers and union activists contact:

Cristina Tilling, European Transport Workers’ Federation
Political Secretary for Road Transport
+0032 478 55 81 35

Background Information

The EU Mobility Package is a total reform of the rules governing road transport and freight in Europe. A bad reform could have a disastrous impact on road safety and the working conditions of professional drivers for the next decades.

There are risks on many fronts:

  • Less rest -> danger of fatigue
  • Low pay -> exploitation and social dumping
  • Weekends sleeping in vehicles -> shocking conditions and poor rest
  • More cabotage -> unfair competition

After initial proposals from the Commission, the Package is currently under debate in the European Parliament. Today’s decision sends the whole package back for debate in the Transport Committee. Meanwhile, member states are debating their view in the EU Council.

Workers representatives have been campaigning for a fair Mobility Package since 2016, often supported by partner organisations in the realm of road safety.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) embraces transport trade unions from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Central and Eastern European countries. The ETF represents more than 5 million transport workers from more than 230 transport unions and 42 European countries.