The EU Mobility Package is a massive reform of the rules governing road transport in Europe. The impact of a bad deal on the wellbeing of drivers and the safety of all road users could be disastrous: less rest for tired drivers, longer periods away from home, and the legalisation of social dumping, wage discrimination and unfair competition.
Meeting ahead of the EU Transport Ministers’ Council of 3 December, where member states are planning to thrash out a final text, transport unions from across Europe made clear that they will not accept the current dangerous proposals. For the first time, after months of constructive engagement, workers say that no deal is better than a bad deal on the EU Mobility Package.
The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) represents 5 million workers across Europe. 45 union leaders met in Brussels on 29-30 November for the ETF’s Executive Committee to discuss matters that concern transport workers. The Mobility Package was high on the agenda and the strength of feeling on the subject was clear.
Frank Moreels, ETF President: “When the patient has diarrhoea, you don’t prescribe a laxative! After the worker abuse scandals we’ve seen in European road transport, we clearly need better enforcement of existing rules – not a botched compromise that makes the rules even more flexible. Just before the European elections, this kind of behaviour is a danger for public belief in the European Union.”
Roberto Parillo, ETF Road Section President: “The European Parliament twice rejected Mobility Package proposals, because MEPs listened to workers concerns. We have always been constructive and open to a decent compromise, but we cannot accept a deal that massively reduces drivers’ quality of life, legalises social dumping, and endangers all road users. Now the proposals are worse than ever, and we have to say STOP. We would rather see the Council fail to reach an agreement than pass a dangerous deal.”
Eduardo Chagas, ETF General Secretary: “The ETF does not understand the rush to reach an agreement which risks a clear decline in the drivers’ quality of work and life. It took two attempts to get a good proposal on the horizontal posting of workers directive. And the second time, it worked. The Mobility Package needs another attempt. Too much is at stake to give in to a compromise that will be so damaging in practice.”
ETF believes that the Council must not adopt a compromise that is un-enforceable and which fails to solve any of the problems the sector currently faces. We always supported the idea that EU road transport needs a major reform, and we always engaged constructively. But can we live without the Mobility Package? Yes we can! Life will be better for drivers if the Council fails to sign their rushed and dangerous deal.
Click here to see all ETF content on the Mobility Package, for example:
After a huge protest in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, MEPs rejected a previous version of the Mobility Package. We are now organising an:
INTERNATIONAL WORKERS’ DEMONSTRATION FOR A FAIR MOBILITY PACKAGE
MONDAY 3 DECEMBER, 11.00-13.00
IN FRONT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, Rue de la Loi 175, Brussels
Members of the press are very welcome to join us, and speak with workers and union activists about their concerns.
Bryn Watkins, European Transport Workers’ Federation
+32 470 93 05 90
The Mobility Package has been through many changes since first proposed on 31 May 2017, and suffered two defeats in the European Parliament.
The 4-week reference period for weekly rest is the only concrete element which has survived from the initial Commission proposal. It means that drivers would have to drive and work for 3 weeks with 2 days of rest. If the Council fails to strike a deal, drivers will continue to work for 2 weeks with 3 days off. A clear reason to hope the Package fails.
With the current Council proposal, drivers will have to spend more nights sleeping in their 4m2 cabin. Basically, drivers will have to live for three continuous weeks in their lorries, with little access to decent meals and hygiene facilities. This would overturn an ECJ ruling, which banned spending longer rest periods in the vehicle because it is dangerous for drivers’ health and safety. If the Council fails to strike a deal, drivers can only be forced to spend 12 days in their cabin. Another reason to hope the Package fails.
When it comes to fair pay and the application of the Posted Workers Directive, the Council deal contains so many exemptions for road transport and so many flaws in enforcement that international drivers will practically always be paid country-of-origin wages. If the Council fails to strike their deal, posting of works will apply from Day 1 to international transport and thus there will be no wage discrimination based on a driver’s origin. Yet another reason for drivers to hope that this proposal will fail to make it through the Council.
Of course we are open to any positive compromise that acknowledges the valid concerns of workers, but for now it is clearly better for driver if the Council does not reach a deal on Monday 3 December.
A recent project by the journalists at Investigate Europe revealed the shocking conditions truck drivers have to put up with. After 3 months, 20 parking area visits, and more than 100 truck drivers interviewed in 15 EU countries, they published press articles in 15 member states. Drivers face low pay, no insurance, they live in their trucks for months with no access to showers and toilets. Investigate Europe brought solid evidence on the exploitation of drivers by trucking companies serving one of the most profitable industries in Europe, the car manufacturers.
And bad news does not stop here. A Danish-Dutch investigation by union discovered that Filipino drivers were being brought into the EU on Polish contracts and kept in near slave-like conditions in Denmark, while working in Germany and the Netherlands. Is that why we created the European single market?