Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Home ECJ European Parliament restricts hiring cheap Eastern European truckers

European Parliament restricts hiring cheap Eastern European truckers

Bulgaria and Lithuania are planning to start legal proceedings against the impending new directive on the working and rest times of truck drivers. Some other Eastern European countries may also join the complaint to the European Court of Justice.

A provisional agreement was reached at the end of last week on improving working conditions in the European transport sector. Negotiators from the European Parliament and from the European member states reached a deal behind closed doors, the text of which still has to be approved. That agreement breaks the business model of letterbox companies that many Eutroese transport companies use to hire 'cheap' drivers.

Many politicians have long agreed that something must be done about the often distressing working conditions of professional drivers. But countries such as Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia and Poland, where many transport companies have an official address, warn of economic damage if the preconditions were to become too strict.

An earlier agreement, from the previous European Parliament, died because it became too technical and too detailed, so that all stakeholders could find an argument to vote against. That is why the new European Parliament has made agreements with governments on a limited number of components for which majorities could be found.

An eye-catcher is that drivers should be able to take their rest at their home every four to eight weeks, and not at their employer's headquarters. They can also no longer camp unlimited along the highway or sleep in their truck.

A country like Lithuania, which also has a highly developed transport sector, calls that part "not in the Lithuanian or in the European interest". At the national transport federation, it sounds that tens of thousands of jobs could die as a result. Lithuania therefore announces its opposition to the agreement.

The European trade unions are satisfied with the result, just like various EP fractions. "We have achieved a good result," says the Dutch MEP Vera Tax (PvdA), who negotiated on behalf of the European Social-Democratic Group. "Drivers can count on a normal weekend break, on decent work schedules and on safe parking places."

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