Truck and bus drivers advance on Strasbourg

27 May 2018

Truck and bus drivers advance on Strasbourg

It's going to happen at last: on Tuesday, 29th May, hundreds of lorry drivers and bus drivers will demonstrate outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The action is timely, because the European Commission's proposals in its 'mobility package' are bad news for these drivers' rights, while the Euro-MPs who must approve them have not found the courage to stand firm in opposition. Without protest there is a strong probability that the proposals will be adopted.

For the bus drivers who already have to contend with hassles caused by the liberalisation of regional services, the situation is downright grim. In relation to longer distance travel, the Commission wants to scrap every form of regulation and throw the market entirely open. Great for firms like Flixbus, but bad for the drivers, who will now experience still more pressure on their working conditions.

As for the truck drivers who believed that growing numbers of vacancies and a better agreement on wages and conditions would mean that their situation would improve, they may have another think coming. Increased competition for crossborder journeys will be the result of relaxation of the rules on cabotage, as will a lengthening of driving hours and shortening of rest periods. Added to all of this there will of course be no equal pay for equal work, because the posted workers directive doesn't apply to these drivers. As a result, drivers from low wage countries in eastern Europe will continue be employed on eastern European wages.

The demo will last no more than 2½ hours and has been so badly planned that for the most part it coincides with the votes in the Parliament. Nevertheless, the drivers can count on the SP's support in Strasbourg, in Brussels and in the Netherlands. For us it's clear: the Mobility Package must go!

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