1st of May marked the start of the ETF bus and coach action week, which is part and parcel of the ETF campaign for a social Road Initiative.
This action was prompted by the European Commission intentions to introduce more derogations in road passenger transport resulting in more consecutive days of driving and shorter weekly rest over the span of a month. In parallel, the European Commission also envisages the increase in the number of weekly driving hours by 22. The potential measures got bus and coach drivers in an uproar. Mark van Tussenbroek, Dutch bus driver attending the ETF demonstration on 26 April along with 50 colleagues, all members of the Dutch union FNV, pointed out: “The new rules will cost a lot of accidents on the road. Bus and coach drivers cannot guarantee passenger safety anymore.”
The aim of the ETF action week is to inform the general public about the impact of these measures over driver’s health and safety and implicitly over passenger safety.
On the 1st of May trade unions from France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany leafleted their members and people participating in the May-Day celebration on the potential changes in the EU legislation in the bus and coach sector.
On Tuesday 2 May meetings were organised with Members of the European Parliament, trade unions and bus and coach drivers to bring forward the concerns of the latter. Brigitta Paas, FNV International Coordinator of bus and coach sector is double concerned, as union official and as partner of a coach driver “If the European Commission changes the driving and rest time rules in this way, they have signed my divorce! By slashing 21 hours of rest from the total rest time, they’ll push my husband into a 324 days of work per year! Likewise, if the European Commission proposes an 8-day derogation for regular bus services, bus drivers will end up with almost 300 working days per year. There will be no room for family and social life of bus and coach drivers under the new rules!” said she during the meeting with Wim van de Camp, coordinator of EPP in the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament.
The same day, Alain Sutour, the Chair of the ETF Passenger Working Group, met Christine Revault Dallonnes Bonnefoy, President of the French Socialist Delegation and presented further union actions to be taken by the ETF in Strasbourg, on 17 – 18 May, to which French trade unions are fully committed, in large numbers.
The actions will continue the entire week in Belgium, Brussels, and in at least 4 other Member States.
This is just the start of a long journey to bring drivers and users of bus and coach service together. The ETF is currently developing long term strategic alliances with prominent politicians and organisations with a strong interest in road safety, driver safety and passenger safety.
For more details, contact Cristina Tilling at firstname.lastname@example.org