Cross-border cooperation against social dumping

Organising to better defend the rights of Romanian truck drivers

Road transport is a cross-border activity; this calls for cross-border Cooperation between trade unions to defend drivers’ rights due to the increasing complexity of mobile workers’ issues.

Take the example of a Romanian truck driver employed on a Slovak contract who works in Denmark. How can unions best help when he has a problem with social security or health coverage? Which system even applies?

International Trade Union Cooperation Office steps in

Determined to help Romanian drivers address these situations, in 2017, the ETF set up a joint trade union office in Targu Mures, Romania. The ETF coordinates the Cooperation with the involvement of five trade unions from Belgium, Denmark, Romania and Sweden and aims to assist in organising and defending Romanian truck drivers working abroad to ensure that employers respect their national and European rights.

The Cooperation acts as a remedy for the broader struggle against social dumping and wage exploitation in road transport.

Through concrete action, we are committed to defending drivers’ rights:

Information Hub

Informing drivers about their rights and EU legislation ranging from new measures under the Mobility Package to their social security entitlements through consistent campaigning.

Field Actions  

Through field actions, trade unionists meet with drivers to discuss the issues they face both at national and European levels, which are then brought forward to EU and government officials and used to identify dubious practices in road transport companies.

Speaking Out

Meeting with EU and government officials to denounce unfair practices in the sector and call for concrete action. For example, in 2020, Romanian Trade Union SLT discussed burning issues on behalf of drivers with the European Commissioner for Transport.

Social Dialogue

The Cooperation aims to establish Collective Bargaining Agreements with companies to ensure fair wages and working condition for their drivers.

Case solving

Rapidly solving internal and external cases through international and national Cooperation: ensuring salaries for Romanian drivers when companies refuse to pay, claiming social security, calling out contract breaches and taking companies to court for unfair practices. The European nature of the Cooperation means that if a Romanian or other European trade union member faces issues abroad, then the trade union of that country can easily intervene on their behalf to solve the case.

A recent example dates from the beginning of 2021: a haulier in Denmark refused to pay a driver who returned to Romania to seek help from his local union, SLT. Thanks to the Cooperation, Danish trade union 3F was able to step in. Not only did the driver receive his full salary, but he also received compensation, and the haulier was fined for breach of contract.

Continuous help throughout COVID-19

Drivers were and are still at the forefront of the crisis delivering essential goods. Through international cooperation, the Office ensured that they were informed of specific and temporary COVID19 measures and their right to medical leave. Trade unionists mobilised to help drivers stuck abroad will performing their duties due to border control issues and different legislative measures between countries. In reaction to the closing down of services; the Office called on governments to keep restaurants, cafes, and sanitary facilities open in parking areas for drivers’ well-being.

The International Trade Union Cooperation Office continues to build on its success and will continue to focus on solving drivers’ cases, on the ongoing health crisis and the implementation and enforcement of the Mobility Package.

Romanian drivers can find information on the SLT (Romanian Trade Union) website.

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