On 16 June 2016 the European Commission announced its plans to undertake legal action against France and Germany for their minimum wage legislation in the road transport sector. By doing so the Commission would create a legal vacuum for international professional drivers in Europe, the ETF and ETUC state in a joint letter to Commissioner Bulc, responsible for transport, and Commissioner Thyssen, responsible for employment and social affairs.
The planned legal action would promote arbitrary decisions and extreme legal uncertainty in the road transport sector. It would be up to the Commission’s services and the courts at various levels to determine on a case-by-case basis and according to unknown criteria which road transport operation is governed by the Directive on the posting of workers and which is regulated by a country of origin principle.
The ETUC and the ETF urge the Commissioners to immediately reconsider pursuing further litigation action and to initiate a dialogue with the relevant social partners with a view to find a satisfactory solution.
For that reason the ETF calls upon the European Commission to withdraw its legal actions against France and Germany and to urgently adopt measures that restore the equal treatment of drivers, fair competition and the confidence of the EU Member States in a fair and functional EU haulage market.
The ETF once again reminds the European Commission to take on board ETF’s set of proposals “The extra-mile towards a full-fledged enforcement scenario in the EU road transport sector, an ETF proposal to policy makers”. The solutions described in that document allow immediate enforcement of cabotage, posting of workers and access to occupation, with only minor – if any – changes in the EU rules.
It is also in that context that ETF actively promotes the European Citizens’ Initiative “Fair Transport Europe”, which calls on the Commission to ensure fair competition in the different transport modes and to guarantee equal treatment of workers -in respect of the principle of equal pay and working conditions, independently of country of origin. More information on the Fair Transport Europe Citizens’ initiative can be found at http://www.fairtransporteurope.eu.
You can download the full ETF position on the European Commission legal actions against the application on minimum wage in Germany and France below.