On 28 February the European Parliament and EU member states reached an agreement on the general posting of workers directive. While many celebrate, workers in the road sector are once again left disappointed. It is now confirmed: road transport will be excluded from new posting rules guaranteeing equal pay for workers no matter where they are from.
By recognising the principle of equal pay for equal work of equal value, the revised directive puts an end to competition on labour costs between local workers and posted workers. Workers from all sectors, except for road transport, will now be entitled to the same level of remuneration as workers in the member state hosting their activity.
ETF President Frank Moreels commented: “On the whole, this agreement is undeniably a step forward for European workers. We finally have a draft directive confirming the principle that equal work deserves equal pay. This a victory for the trade union movement: a recognition of what we’ve been demanding for years, and sign that our actions have been successful in setting the agenda on the posting of workers. So we cannot deny that this is a breakthrough, but looking at the road transport sector we see huge gaps and hypocritical inconsistency. Why on earth would professional drivers not warrant the same fair treatment as workers in other sectors?”
The situation is grossly unfair. Professional drivers will only be entitled to minimum wages, rather than the same pay as local workers. In fact, it gets even worse. The EU Institutions are preparing a massive revision of the rules applicable to road transport, the so called “Mobility Package”. They are currently discussing exemptions for bus, coach and truck drivers from the minimum wage – at least for a number of days per month. Paying workers at the level of their country of origin is a discriminatory practice which trade unions across Europe managed to fend off years ago. We now risk seeing it legalised in road transport.
Furthermore, under the new general posting rules, companies from all sectors – except, again, the ones in road transport – will have to cover the cost of travel, board and lodging incurred by the workers they post to another EU country. That will not be the case for professional drivers. Again, why the difference in treatment?
There is also real incoherence in the EU’s approach to road transport workers. In an attempt to improve labour and social conditions in road transport, the European Commission’s recent Mobility Package proposals include measures to allow drivers to return home every three weeks. But who will pay? The proposal fails to address this and the new posting rules do not apply to the sector.
Eduardo Chagas, ETF General Secretary said that “The ETF is engaged in a full-speed Fair Transport campaign for quality jobs in Europe. European roads and motorways are full of exploitation and wage discrimination. Thousands of unprotected professional drivers live their lives in car parks. Excluding road transport from the equal pay principle does nothing to solve these problems.”
Roberto Parrillo, President of the ETF Road Section, added: “If EU legislators care about decent work and safety on our roads, then road transport must be covered by the same posting regime as all the other sectors. Otherwise it will be clear that recent developments – including pressure from some member states to totally exclude road transport from all posting rules – are nothing else than an attempt to legalise social dumping.”
For more information please contact Cristina Tilling, ETF Political Secretary for road transport: firstname.lastname@example.org or via mobile phone on 0032 478 558135.