After the European Parliament’s left wing has questioned the Transport and Tourism Committee’s mandate for trilogue negotiations some weeks ago, the three reports of MEPs Wim Van de Camp, Merja Kyllönen and Ismail Ertug are subject to patchwork amendments and a hasty vote before the summer break.
Questioning the result of many months of hard work and balanced compromises on the three reports by rapporteurs with in-depth knowledge of the sector may now lead to disproportionate measures with negative impacts on drivers, companies and control authorities, but also customers and consumers in EU, as the administrative burdens and administrative costs are expected to rise much more than previously expected whilst drivers will not benefit from being subject to the posting rules.
Strict and unenforceable provisions will inevitably lead to SME’s becoming bankrupt or withdrawing from cross-border activities where drivers are at risk of losing their jobs. There is also a great risk that drivers will strive to become self-employed, and thereby be falling outside the scope of the Posting of Workers Directive – but also falling outside the scope of any traditional employee protection.
What are the challenges?
The road transport sector is hypermobile and drivers cross borders on a daily basis. If cross-border activities will become subject to the Posting of Workers Directive, it will become very burdensome for drivers and companies as well as control authorities to apply different national labour laws with different remunerations and holiday systems, different compositions of minimum wage, different social entitlements, different collective agreements and much more for every international transport.
Some countries operate with up to 50 different wage rates depending on the transported goods, the vehicle used, the seniority of the driver and other criteria. The requirements for paid leave are not simpler – the different national legislation in EU are clashing, rendering the Directive inapplicable in practice. Applying posting rules to international transport would therefore not only be a disproportionate piece of legislation – in the long run it will neither bring any benefits for the drivers nor companies and control authorities – all the costs connected to the huge administrative burdens will affect the price and thereby be passed on to the customer, and in the end the consumer.
On a long-term basis, this will without a doubt affect EU’s employment rates, growth and global competitiveness in a disproportionate and harmful way. The entire industry, therefore, urges MEPs to opt for full exclusion of international transport from posting of workers and finding a compromise striking a careful balance between social protection and the EU Single Market before the upcoming European Parliaments elections.
Co-author: Agata J. Boutanos