On 14 May 2013, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) organises a European action day mobilising trade union activists and rank and file members to storm the European Commission with a clear “NO!” to further liberalisation in the road transport sector. Messages will be sent from all over Europe by fax, email and via social networks to make the point that three years into the adoption of the new road cabotage rules, the sector is not ready for more market opening. The ETF calls on the European Commission to drop their plan for further liberalisation and step up efforts to eradicate social dumping and improve enforcement of social, labour and road transport legislation within the EU.
In 2013, the European Commission is expected to launch a proposal to further liberalise the domestic road transport markets by lifting all cabotage restrictions. Europe is divided by huge disparities in terms of wages and working conditions. In the given conditions, with Eastern European drivers being paid up to ten times less than their colleagues from the EU15, the ETF and its 750,000 road transport workers from 30 European countries say yet again a clear “NO!”, our sector is not prepared to accept further liberalisation.
On 14 May 2010, new road cabotage rules came into force in the European Union, allowing operators to carry out only 3 journeys within a 7-day period on a domestic market of another EU Member State (Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009). The rules were an indication that, on the occasion, law makers acknowledged the disparities in social and fiscal conditions in the EU 27 and intended to limit the risk for further social dumping and unfair competition in the sector.
“However, in the past three years the road cabotage rules failed to be properly applied andcontrolled by the EU Member States, while the European Commission has constantly promoted a flexible interpretation of these rules,” Cristina Tilling, ETF Political Secretary comments. “This, combined with a lack of interest to enforce EU social and labour laws in road transport such as the posting of workers and the Rome I Regulation, led to a massive spread of social dumping practices from international to domestic transport by road,” she continues. Nowadays, domestic road transport journeys are carried out on a large scale with vehicles and drivers registered in Member States with low fiscal, social and labour conditions, mostly via the illegal letter box company system.
The Brussels Berlaymont building – home to the European Commission – displays a banner with the following text: “It’s about Europe, it’s about you! Join the debate!” Two years into joining the debate, the ETF and its members ask for a meaningful dialogue and for initiatives to address the critical social and labour situation in the road transport sector.
For further information, please contact Cristina Tilling, ETF Political Secretary for the ETF Road Transport Section – (firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +32 (0)478/55 81 35).