Without a doubt, over the next 5 years road transport will be a hot topic for the EU Institutions. In 2013, hauliers and labour organisations – the IRU and the ETF – fended off plans of the European Commission to liberalise cabotage on the grounds that disparities in pay, social and labour conditions amongst the 28 Member States were too considerable to allow elimination of cabotage rules without further market distortions.
Meeting Michael Cramer, Chair of the European Parliament TRAN Committee, and the political advisers of the Green Group on 8 October, Roberto Parrillo, President of the ETF Road Transport Section, and ETF Political Secretary Cristina Tilling expressed their concern with the persisting lack of sustainability of the road transport sector. Consignors – who have been driving down prices of road transport operations – must fully share responsibility for the correct application of road transport Community law, said the ETF. Meanwhile, the European Commission must put an end to its tolerance for social dumping practices in road transport. The Commission must properly enforce rules and regulations attacking to letter box companies, as well as those laws meant to clamp down on social fraud, notably the Posting of Workers Directive and the Rome I Regulation. The question of weekly rest away from the vehicle was discussed too, with the ETF pointing out at the need to correctly enforce the driving and rest time rules forbidding the weekly rest in the truck.
“With this legal requirement the legislator recognised the necessity for the professional driver to be provided with adequate rest facilities at the end of a week a spent behind the wheel. And France and Belgium take measures to enforce. The measures safeguard the drivers’ health and safety, and the road safety at the same time. They have to be seen in a broader context too, as part of a process where thousands of drivers spending now months away from country could in the future take weekly rest at home” said Roberto Parrillo.
The ETF delegation and the Chair of the European Parliament TRAN Committee shared the view that urgent action must be taken by the industry and the policy makers to turn road transport into a sustainable sector. This will benefit fair competition within the sector, and between transport modes alike.