Nordic Logistics Association understands the decision in Germany on minimum wage

At its board meeting on January 26, 2015 in Bruxelles the board of Nordic Logistics Association (NLA) discussed social dumping in the road transport sector and the developments concerning the German minimum wage, which applies also for road transport. The board of NLA expresses its understanding for why Germany has felt the need to introduce a minimum wage, also for road transport.

The board finds that the minimum wage is a perfectly understandable attempt to solve the real problems facing many member states in the EU today. These problems are the social dumping and deterioration and quality of working conditions mainly in certain specific sectors of the economy, such as road transport.

The NLA board – as representative of more than 20.000 road hauliers in the Nordic countries – welcomes that member states take action to solve these problems. EU solutions could be preferred, but presently the Member States have to use the options available.

The board recognises that systems such as minimum wage need to be done in a way that is not bureaucratic, inefficient or disproportional. The system also need to effectively rule out non-compliance. The German system can have faults on this front, but that is no reason to reject the overall objective of the exercise.

Newly re-elected chairman of the NLA board Mr Erik Østergaard states: “We doubt if the system created by German Authorities at the end of the day is the most efficient way of dealing with the control and enforcement. Indeed we believe that a lot of bureaucracy could be avoided in situations like this, if a better European legal framework is set up. NLA recognises that a common EU level for a minimum wage will not be possible at this stage, but a common EU framework clarifying rules and facilitating application of a minimum wage for both the economic actors and the authorities could be a valuable step. It would also be a welcome step to root out social dumping.”

According to Mr Erik Østergaard the whole issue is not only linked to cabotage: “No matter how you define the rules for cabotage or for international transport you will always need to define which rules on wages and working conditions will apply in different situations for road transport – foreign drivers on national vehicles, international transport, transit transport, combined transport, continuous international transport between other countries than home country etc. It is vitally important for NLA that the internal market guarantees that a Nordic haulier can run a profitable business respecting the laws and conventions applicable both in the EU and nationally without facing unfair or illegal competition from hauliers from other countries. This requires both a clear and fair set of rules and regulations as well as the enforcement of these rules and regulations,” ends Mr Østergaard.