Social conditions in bus and coach transport in Europe

ETF’s “Social conditions in bus and coach transport in Europe” delves into what the sector needs to become more attractive and recall and retain skilled drivers.

Driver shortage, drivers with an average age of above 50, fewer people willing to work in the sector. Downward pressure due to liberalisation. Employment of third-country drivers vulnerable to exploitation. What lies behind these longstanding issues and what’s the way forward?



Back in 2018, and EU funded report on the bus and coach sector and working conditions sparked debates within the ETF passenger transport working group on collective labour agreements (CLA) as a main tool to improve drivers’ pay and conditions.

The 2018 study identified two main problems in bus and coach: pay and working time. The main trade union instrument to address these aspects is the CLA. Reports from the ETF and its affiliates revealed a diversity of cultures and approaches and different levels of tackling new trends in the markets and new business models.

What is lacking is a systematic collection of data on national legal provisions regarding salaries and wages, employment contracts, working conditions and required qualifications in Member States.

Such data would allow ETF member organisations to compare and evaluate the collected information, to take stock of best practices and further implement them in their own country, mindful of the specificities of their national industrial relations.


In this context, in January 2021, the ETF started an eighteen-month EU-funded project that will run for 18 months, until the end of June 2022, supported by EVA Akademie.

The aim of the ETF’s project was therefore twofold:

  • Developing solid know-how on social conditions and CLA in the bus and coach sector
  • Enabling ETF member organisations to have the right responses in safeguarding drivers’ pay and conditions, in an ever-changing market – including stimulating social partners’ negotiations of CLAs as the main tool to address market developments, including the ones generated by COVID-19

To fulfil these aims, the project developed:

  • A comparative analysis of the social conditions and the CLA in 10 Member States, in regular and occasional passenger transport; the Member States are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Slovakia.
  • A toolkit listing the most common problems faced by bus and coach drivers, and guidance on how to address these problems via CLAs, based on the examples and best practice identified by the study.

In the framework of this project, the ETF organised

  • Three workshops, on separate country groups, to ensure in-depth input for the development of the project outcomes
  • Three project steering group meetings
  • A final conference will ensure the dissemination of project results

For more information, please consult the final project report, toolkit and policy recommendations, available to download at your right.


 With financial support from the European Union

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