Social rules also for road transport

The Commission has March 8 taken a step towards an EU based more on equal social conditions in the internal market for the improvement of fair competition. This is a step in the direction of the stated objective of same pay for same work in the same place, as declared by the Commission in its work programme.

The Commission initiative was launched by Commissioner Marianne Thyssen as part of a package in a social pillar for the EU. The initiative has a number of interesting elements particularly relevant for road transport. 

First of all the initiative makes it clear – for those who may have doubted it – that for road transport in the internal market, including international and cabotage, there are social rules that apply. You cannot just drive around without applying any rules whatsoever or on a permanent basis just apply the rules in your home country.

Secondly the Commission recognises the particular situation for mobile workers and mobile places of work such as in transport. The Commission is suggesting that specific rules for how to apply these principles to road transport will be developed in connection with the road transport initiative expected for the end of 2016. However, the Commission is not excluding road transport from the general posting of workers directive at this stage.

However, and thirdly, todays proposal contains some elements that are of concern to social partners in the Nordic countries and the special system of collective agreements rather than legislation. In some cases road transport does however deviate from the general system in the Nordic countries, which precisely underlines the need for special rules for road transport also at EU level.

Fourth and final todays proposal does take steps forward that is of interest also for road transport: ensure that posted workers are paid wages that reflect the total pay package applied in the host country and not just a bare minimum wage; proposal to include the whole subcontracting chain; temporary workers are also included under the posting of workers directive and finally that long term postings (above 24 months) leads to even more protection of the workers.

“NLA welcomes that the Commission clarifies the situation for road transport and the posting of workers directive” comments NLA CEO Søren Larsen. “It is made clear that posting of workers does apply also to road transport in the EU. Some have tried to ignore this fact and we welcome the fact that the Commission is confirming, that rules for the social and working conditions for drivers and haulers  outside their home country do exist. However, it is also clear that a direct application of these rules to road transport will be very complicated. It is therefore welcomed that the Commission will continue this discussion within the framework of the coming road transport initiative expected later this year/early 2017. This will give the road transport industry the possibility to improve the set-up for social conditions for road transport in the EU internal market”

“NLA also welcomes the broader discussion that the Commission is opening on a social pillar for the EU. For road transport it has been very clear the last years, that lack of clear rules on social and working conditions has led to abuses in the market and social dumping. Common EU rules will contribute to fight these practices”, concludes Soren Larsen.

You can find more information from the Commission here