The international road transport union IRU wants the rules on driving and resting to be flexible enough so that drivers can return home after a three-week work period. In this way, the IRU supports the compromise reached on June 4 by the Transport Committee. Unfortunately, as a result of the opposition of a significant group of MEPs, this compromise was recently rejected.
The IRU believes that working time and rest periods should be completely separated from the market and social issues in order to guarantee safe and effective logistics operations.
Scare tactics and abusing road safety arguments do not improve the situation for drivers, they make it worse” – reads the statement on IRU website.
Annually 250-300 million logistic operations are performed in the European Union. Drivers in transit and international transport want to be able to return to their families. For this to be possible, the reference period would have to be four weeks, including three weeks of driving and one week’s break. This is what the IRU supports.
In turn, members of the European Federation of Transport Associations (ETF) and a large group of MEPs want to shorten the reference period to two weeks. The ETF claims that such a provision guarantees greater road safety. The trouble is that drivers taking international transport would then have to take a week’s rest on the road and sleep in hotels instead of returning home.
The IRU argues:
Italian carrier transports Italian wine and parmesan to Sofia, Bucharest or Copenhagen; Round trip travel may take about 3 weeks. Less flexibility in working time would mean that drivers would have to rest outside their vehicle, although there is not enough secure parking places and rest areas now, and they will not be in the near future. So where to go and what to do with a truck to force a regular rest outside the vehicle?
The result of shortening the reference period would be more stress and poorer working conditions for drivers. A real 4-week reference period, covering 3 weeks of activity, is the only feasible and practical solution, providing a week or right rest before the end of the fourth week.”
As everyone knows, the work of drivers is not the easiest one. Several hundred thousand drivers are already missing in Europe. And what is suggested by some trade unions and some of the MEPs that are detached from reality may deepen these gaps.