Minimum wage laws in transport sector

Date: 12, July 2016
On July 7, 2016, the European Parliament's plenary session held a debate on the application of minimum wage in the transport sector, a timely issue given the application of minimum wage laws in both Germany and France.

Ms Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, stressed that while the Commission supports the principle of a minimum wage, the measures taken by France and Germany in this area go against the principles of free movements of goods and freedom to provide services and create an unjustified administrative burden. MEPs (members of the European parliament) were split between those who considered the measures a justified way of safeguarding workers' rights and those who felt that they amounted to a form of protectionism which undermines the internal market.

Bulc continued by saying that the French and German cases demonstrate how the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive to road transport sector is raising certain legal questions and particular difficulties. All Member States are potentially facing the same issues, so they are calling for an EU-wide solution. She argued that a European solution is essential in order to prevent the emergence of uncoordinated measures fragmenting the internal market.

For NLA the answer is clear according to CEO Søren Hyldstrup Larsen: of course the principles of posting of workers should also apply to road transport, even though we need to take the particular conditions for road transport into account. In particular, NLA finds it regrettable if the Commission, MEPs, Member States and some operators think that the problems of social dumping will disappear, if the minimum wages disappear. NLA believe this to be wrong, and the problem may only get even bigger. Still, NLA finds it positive that the debate clarified that a minimum wage as a principle is a part of the internal market, and can also be applied to road transport. It was also proomising that several MEPs emphasised the need for common EU rules if a minimum wage law are to be implemented in a Member State, rather than to be opposed to a Member State's competence of implementing a minimum wage law.