The Employment Committee of the European Parliament has voted against changing the Road Transport (Working Time) Directive thereby preventing self-employed drivers from being exempt from the Directive’s regulations on working time. The rejection must now be confirmed in the Plenum of the European Parliament.
A Directive, which contains common regulations on 'working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities', has already been in force since March 2005. However: many HGV drivers are pseudo self-employed and therefore are not required to adhere to the working time regulations. As the existing Directive, however provides for the existing regulations to apply also to self-employed drivers from 23rd March 2009, this opportunity to bypass these has been removed.

As requested by the Council and the European Parliament, the Commission submitted a Road Transport (Working Time) Directive in October 2008. Although the European Commission confirms the increasing phenomenon of pseudo self-employed drivers, it does, however, come to the difficult to comprehend conclusion that including a definition of pseudo self-employed drivers would be sufficient. In accordance with the Commission, self-employed drivers should therefore not be subject to the working time regulation - a u-turn with regard to the existing Directive.

In addition, the Commission proposes that night time work would only then exist if a driver would work at least two hours.

It is thanks to the lobbying of the labour representatives and in particular of the representatives of the European Transport Workers' Federation that the Employment Committee of the European Parliament has now voted with 23 against 17 votes against the new Directive proposal. If the rejection is also confirmed in the Plenum of the Parliament, the Commission proposal will be rejected. This would insure the inclusion of all drivers into the working time regulation. The vote in the Plenum has been scheduled for the beginning of May 2009.