On 22 November 2017, an intensive debate took place in the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament (TRAN) on the market and social law aspects of the Mobility Package, which the EU Commission had presented at the end of May 2017. During the debate, the interests of employees and employers as well as those of the old and the new Member States clashed. AK EUROPA reports from the Committee.
The Transport Committee TRAN had invited experts to the meeting on 22 November 2017, who were asked to provide their assessment concerning the Proposal on the Mobility Package, which the Commission had presented in May this year. The contributions made reflected the entire range of possible positions, which from today's point of view will be difficult to bring down to a common denominator.
Roberto Parrillo, President of the Road Transport Section of the European Transport Workers' Federation ETF, emphasised that there should not be any wage discrimination due to origin and that receiving the same wage for the same work had to be a matter of course. Adequate controls and easily to comprehend regulations are required to prevent abuse with regard to letterbox companies, postings and cabotage (domestic transports by foreign companies). That is why the digital tachograph for HGVs is of particular importance.
Florence Berthelot, General Delegate of the French National Federation of Road Transport (FNTR) held a similar view. She stated that only 10 % of international source and destination transport on France’s roads is carried out by French companies. 20 years ago, their share was still 55 %. Different levels of ancillary wage costs in the Member States, which differ up to 70 % per working hour between France and den new Member States do not allow for fair competition and result in a levelling down within the EU.
This view was not shared by Ferenc Lajkó, Chief Executive Officer of Waberer's International, the market leading logistics service provider in Hungary. With regard to the proposed regulations on driving and rest periods, he warned that these might result in higher costs, which might in the end lead to higher inflation and end products, whose prices might increase by up to 30 %. Any increase in the costs for companies would damage the EU’s competitiveness.
Jan Villadsen, President of 3F Transport(Trade Union, Denmark), warned against bad working conditions in road freight transport and unfair competition. In his opinion, cabotage operations subsequent to a cross-border journey of maximal three days shall be possible in future. Apart from that, the trade union representative emphasised the importance of a European Employment Agency, as announced by Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union address in September 2017.
For Gerard Schipper, General delegate, Euro Control Route (ECR) the fight against letterbox companies and “social nomadism” is paramount. The control of current regulations should be improved to prevent abuse. However, new technologies present opportunities and challenges at the same time. He currently estimates the share of tachograph abuse cases to be 30 %.
Pedro Polónio, Vice President ANTRAM (National Road Hauliers' Association, Portugal) and Professor Przemysław Borkowski of Gdańsk University caused a murmur among those present, when they objected against the same pay for the same work in the same place if drivers where not confronted with the same cost of living in their home countries. In their opinion, the fact that wealthier countries had to pay higher wages would be a legitimate part of the competition between Member States.
This debate in the Transport Committee clearly showed the wide range of interests and positions at European level between Member States and between employees and employers. Further intensive debates are expected to take place in the coming months and AK EUROPA will continue its work to ensure that the interests of employees will be given adequate consideration!