Minor improvements in working and social conditions for truck drivers

IF – 01/2020

The EU institutions have been negotiating a new Mobility Package since 2017. It has been a hard struggle in several regards. The negotiations focused on creating fairer competition and combating illegal practices in the European transport sector in order to prevent the jumble of widespread wage and social dumping as much as possible.

For a long time, the interests of employers had long stood in opposition to the needs of drivers. The motto ‘time is money’ is particularly true in the transport industry, and this is often shouldered by drivers at the expense of their health and well-being.

Digitalisation and intelligent tools to help prevent fraud

Digital technologies will be used to reduce the everyday workload of drivers and shorten the time needed for roadside checks. These ‘smart enforcement devices’ automatically register border crossings as well as loading and unloading of transported goods. All vehicles will be fitted with smart tachographs by 2025, even though the European Commission had not scheduled this until 2034.

Driving and rest times generated much debate

MEPs adopted their position in December 2019 with a view to negotiating the modernisation of the rules on posting and rest periods for drivers with the Council. The aim is to curb the widespread distortion of competition caused by many European transport operators who also use letterbox companies.

The transport companies must now design the timetables in a way that drivers can return home at regular intervals of at least 4 weeks. The prescribed rest period at the end of the week must be spent outside the cabin of the truck.

Clear posting rules

A clearly defined legal framework for applying the general rules on the posting of drivers will be established in order to avoid bureaucratic burdens due to different national procedures and to guarantee a fair wage.

Whereas transport personnel were previously classified as ‘posted’ on the basis of the principle of ‘the same pay for the same work at the same place’, a special provision will apply to drivers in the future, a so-called lex specialis. As a result, the Posting of Workers Directive will no longer apply to bilateral journeys, regardless of how long and over how many days the trip extends across Europe.

Further roadmap for implementation

Parliament’s Transport Committee will have to formally confirm the trialogue’s provisional agreement in January in order to pave the way for its adoption by the Council and Parliament. It is expected to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and to enter into force in summer 2020.