Norway introduces minimum wage by July 1, 2015
It is often the case in Norway, that a collective agreement is made generally applicable to all activities falling within the scope of the agreement. This has now also happened to the collective agreement for road transport. The consequence is that the wages and conditions in the agreement will apply to all haulers operating in Norway under certain conditions. However, the social partners and the authorities have been careful to make sure that this step would be within the framework of the EU legislation. Norway, as a member of the EEA, is also subject to the rules of the posting of workers directive.
This puts focus on the complications of applying the posting of workers directive to road transport and it highlights, that the rules for posting of workers need to be adjusted to ensure fair competition also in road transport.
Thus for road haulers established outside of Norway, the minimum wage will apply if their activity is covered by the posting of workers directive, most notably if the buyer of the transport service is established in Norway. If they are not covered by the rules for posting, they are not covered by the minimum wage. But how can a non-Norwegian hauler make sure they comply with the new rules?
These are among the concerns that Nordic Logistics Association has expressed today in a letter to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority in order to get clarity prior to the introduction of the minimum wage.
"NLA regards minimum wage in Norway as a step in the right direction for more orderly working conditions for Norwegian - and Nordic - road haulers and drivers. But it is also clear that the Norwegian decision raises a number of practical questions, when it is read together with the posting of workers rules" states Soren H Larsen, CEO of Nordic Logistics Association.
NLA has often made the point to the EU that it creates problems to apply the posting of workers rules to road transport. Road transport offers opportunities because of the mobility and the fragmentation of the sector, to circumvent the rules of posting - and thus the minimum wage.
"We believe a way to prevent this circumvention is a requirement to register for both hauler and transport buyer, in order to make all links in the chain responsible. However, the problem of documenting that you are fulfilling the Norwegian conditions is still an issue. We are therfore also asking the Norwegian authorities which documentation they will be requesting", continues Soren H Larsen.
In the letter to the authorities NLA has also pointed at the problems on calculating the minimum wage based on collective agreements in other countries, where the basic principles may differ, but the end result is equal to or above the Norwegian wages and conditions. "It is important that the Norwegian authorities take these differences into account", says Soren H Larsen."it can be facilitated by some kind of preregistration requirement and establishment of a register, which wil simplify the control in Norway".
The letter to the Norwegian authorities can be read here (in Danish)