drivers from Georgia and Uzbekistan have now been on strike at a service area
near Darmstadt for several weeks to protest against poor working conditions,
working hours violations and non-payment of wages by their Polish employer.
This event is now being discussed at European level. On 19 April, Members of Parliament (MEPs) met the
European Commission (EC) and the Council at a plenary session held in Strasbourg. Exasperation with
the working conditions of the drivers was high across party lines.
Mobility Package I - also for nationals from third-countries
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, emphasised that the EC
is committed to fair mobility and referred to Mobility Package I from 2020, which includes measures to
guarantee that social rights are applied equally to nationals from
third-countries when employed in the EU.
European Pillar of Social Rights
explained that all EU countries had made a joint commitment under the European Pillar of Social Rights to ensure that all people working in the EU
had a right to fair working conditions, fair pay and a guarantee of an adequate
standard of living. Schmit told MEPs that there should not be two classes of
workers in the EU.
Council's recommendation about strengthening social dialogue
directive about adequate minimum wages also provides for a strong collective
bargaining role. The EC put forward a Council recommendation about
strengthening social dialogue to make collective bargaining at national level
Member states have a duty
to Schmit, the existing laws must be consistently implemented by the member
states. They should revoke approval for companies if the EU’s regulations are
not being complied with. An information system should also be set up to make
the exchanging of information easier between national authorities. The European
Labour Authority should also have the power to carry out coordinated joint
Initial partial success achieved
wages have been paid after talks with the strikers and the company. One German
company has also terminated its contract with the Polish logistics company. On
26 April, the transport company finally accepted the conditions, and the strike came to
an end. However, the issue will continue to preoccupy European politics.