ETF meets with EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean

18 Feb 2020

Future transport policies must fully embrace the social dimension of the transport sector. Transport workers can no longer be overlooked in the decisions that involve them.

They need policies that empower them to successfully meet the various challenges that are imposed upon them. They need and deserve fair transport.

Transport workers make Europe move, and without them, Europe would be at a standstill.

That is the message given by our ETF President, Frank Moreels, and our ETF General Secretary, Livia Spera, during our first meeting, hopefully, the first of many to come, with the new EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean.

We exchanged views about the challenges our 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions and 41 European countries are facing today, and the vital role they play for Europe’s economy and growth. We reminded Valean of our fair transport campaign and fair transport demonstration which spurred thousands of our members to take to the streets on March 27 last year.

In that respect, we stressed that we must shape a fair future for our transport workers:

ETF underlined that while we see the mobility package as a compromise, it is a good starting point, but social dumping in the road transport industry is a huge issue and that there is room for improvement on rest and driving time.

ETF made Vălean aware of the issue of bogus self-employment, and the impact of policies carried out by low-cost airlines on the aviation sector. ETF stressed that, in general, transport services must be sold at a fair price. When transport prices are artificially low due to low social costs, this becomes a problem. Customers will then always be more inclined to choose the cheaper option, and we cannot think about making the transport sector more sustainable if it is not provided at the right price.

Furthermore, ETF asked for Vălean’s support on these points:

  • Fight the sources of precariousness and bogus self-employment. Liberalisation and privatisation have pushed down transport rates which in turn hampers fair working conditions, as well as climate transition.
  • Ensure proper enforcement of EU social legislation to fight social dumping. There is a major problem in applying EU labour standards to transport workers.
  • A human-centred transition to climate-neutral transport. We must ensure that the shift is managed in a “socially fair and economically efficient way”, to quote your own words.
  • Enhance gender equality among the transport workforce by tackling the issues linked to working conditions, work-life balance, violence and harassment, as well as access to decent facilities at work.

In turn, Vălean replied that she is committed to taking these social issues on board, and invited ETF to see her as a partner.

Going forward, we will be a strong, reliable counterpart, and we look forward to working with Vălean on the issues that affect transport workers all over Europe.