SP: New hope for truck drivers as European Commission outlines plans to tackle exploitation and displacement

10 March 2015

SP: New hope for truck drivers as European Commission outlines plans to tackle exploitation and displacement

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc today addressed a cross-party group of MEPs, headed by the SP’s Dennis de Jong, on the subject of her plans to tackle exploitation and displacement of truck drivers, raising high expectations. ´Bulc looked positively at our proposals for tightening EU legislation on cabotage and against the use of mailbox companies,’ says De Jong. ‘In addition, she wants to strengthen cooperation between inspection services in Europe by giving one of the existing EU Agencies new responsibilities. She’s looking to make possible a solution to the problem of enforcement of the minimum wage as well as addressing the issue of cabotage trips, without imposing unnecessary administrative formalities. Her commitments create confidence, but obviously what count in the end are her concrete actions.’

Dennis de Jong with a truck driver
Foto: SP

A few years ago De Jong took the initiative to establish a cross-party network of MEPs - in which all significant political groups were represented – concerned to prevent the then European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas from succeeding in his proposal to abolish the rules on cabotage, thus fully liberalising domestic road transport. ‘In the end we managed to persuade Kallas that he must first at least address existing abuses in the sector. His successor Violeta Bulc is continuing this line. She knows all about the cases of exploitation and displacement and will use the results of the enquiry recently conducted by the SP amongst Dutch truck drivers in order to gain a better insight into the concrete problems faced by these drivers.’

In the framework of the REFIT programme – the recalibration by the Commission of existing EU legislation – the Cabotage Directive stands high on the list of priorities. Bulc has stated that she could possibly bring forward proposals within just a few weeks, which will involve the list of suggestions for clarification and strengthening of the cabotage rules suggested by the MEPs today. As De Jong notes, ‘if that’s so it’s possible that the number of cabotage journeys will be limited to three per week and ten per month. In addition, there should be a single loading place and a single delivery point, and an obligation after the cabotage journeys for the lorry in question to be returned to the country in which it is registered before fresh cabotage journeys can be undertaken. If the Commissioner adopts these and other proposals, abuse of the cabotage rules will become a bit more difficult.’ The Commissioner also announced that she will be organising a meeting with the drivers and their employers in June on the social aspects of road transport and in 2016 will bring forward an entire package of measures.’

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