On 6 October, part of the ITF international road transport action week, representatives of the ETF and its Dutch and Romanian member unions FNV Bondgenoten and SLT ATU Romania met Ms Comaroschi, the Romanian Ambassador to the Netherlands, to discuss the situation of Romanian professional truck drivers living and working on substandard conditions in the Netherlands.
The meeting comes after 3 days of visits by the Dutch and Romanian trade union representatives in parking areas around Rotterdam. Most of the interviewed drivers were working for foreign companies but were recruited in Romania, on Romanian pay levels. The overwhelming majority had been living in their trucks for more than 6 months.
A series of common concerns were expressed during the meeting with the union representatives, all converging to the dumping practices that strip these professionals of their dignity, and expose them to discrimination in terms of pay and working conditions. Enforcement of the weekly rest has also been discussed, as many drivers are currently instructed by their companies to now take the weekly rest in countries neighbouring Belgium and France.
Last year, Romania and the Netherlands signed an agreement fostering, amongst others, close cooperation between labour inspections aimed at an extended communication and information in order to counter abuse and exploitation. This would contribute to a better understanding of the critical social and labour situation faced by professional truck drivers.