COVID-19: ETF responds to the outcome of Council of Transport Ministers Meeting

19 Mar 2020

In the wake of the informal meeting of the Council of Transport Ministers, the ETF has once again sent a letter to Commissioner Vălean. The ETF waited for the outcome of this meeting, in hopes that concrete measures to protect our transport workers would emerge from it. What emerged was the exact opposite, and we are extremely disappointed in the Council’s (un)willingness to tackle this safety emergency that poses a threat, which grows by the minute, for transport workers.

The situation of transport workers is a crisis in a crisis: many transport companies, in passenger and freight alike, keep breaching safety protocols, and the delivery of non-essential goods continues, unnecessarily putting workers’ health at risk and contributing to the spread of the virus.

The dire situation of drivers in the road transport sector: the unsung heroes of this crisis; was not mentioned in the communication following the meeting. There is no reference to concrete measures concerning drivers’ protection, their health and safety. Drivers are delivering the crucial supplies we depend on for our survival. Our full statement can be be found here, and details what exactly an action plan to protect our drivers must entail.

Similarly, the Inland Waterways industry has also been severely affected. This morning, European Barge Union (EBU) released a statement, calling for the free movement of vessels and crew members, as well as flexibility in the application of the working time directive crewing regulations. On top of that, they propose the elimination of penalties in cases where these regulations are not respected. In response, we sent a letter to EBU and ESO, emphasising the need for social dialogue in Inland Waterways in these difficult times.

In view of the swift concrete action that must be taken, we have reiterated our request for a meeting with Commissioner for Transport, Adina-Ioana Vălean.

You may download the letter, in which we detail all the points of action that must be taken, at your right.