German minimum wage: The Commission is taking a careful step
The European Commission has today – after long period of consideration – taken a first step concerning the use of the German minimum wage for transport.
NLA notices that the Commission is supporting the introduction of a minimum wage in Germany, “which is in line with social policy commitment of this Commission” (quote Commission press release). NLA also notices that the Commission is focusing on the application of the minimum wage to transit transport and "certain national transport operations” (quote Commission press release). By “certain national transport operations” NLA is concerned that the Commission means that minimum wage can be applied to international transports carried out by German vehicles, but not by non-German vehicles – in other words you may increase the unfair competition as much as you like as long as you do not put a burden on foreign vehicles.
Soren Larsen, CEO of NLA, says: “The step taken by the Commission today brings a little bit of clarity on what is clearly a complicated issue. The use of a national minimum wage on all transport operations in your territory has never before been tested.NLA is concerned that road transport in the end will be treated differently than other sectors. Just because the workplaces for road transport are mobile should not mean, that fair and just working conditions cannot applied, as is the case for non-mobile working places”
“It is true that the German minimum wage system has some problems. That you have to fax your notification is unacceptably old-fashioned. In this context NLA notes that BGL and the German social democratic party SPD on May 11 called for more modern system for notification and control. We can only agree with this.”
“But if the Commission thinks that the problems with social dumping in road transport in the EU will disappear by telling Germany not too apply a minimum wage for road transport, then the Commission must think again. The problem for road transport is precisely how to ensure that host country rules apply in order to ensure a fair competition. The Commission has invited for a conference on June 4 on social dumping and transport. NLA is participating with several representatives and we will use the opportunity to tell the Commission, that they have a responsibility to create not only clarity but also fairness”, ends Soren Larsen
The step taken by the Commission today is to send Germany a so-called formal letter. This is the first step in an infringement procedure, where the Commission may take Germany to the court. The Commission is keen to underline, that this step does not prejudice further initiatives the Commission may take for clarifying the rules, such as the labour mobility package planned for later this year.