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Combatting social dumping in road transport: clear rules, new technology and more inspectors needed

13 September 2016

Combatting social dumping in road transport: clear rules, new technology and more inspectors needed

The European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) today presented a manifesto containing concrete proposals to combat social dumping in European road transport. Responding to the proposals, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: “Social dumping in road transport not only leads to degrading situations for drivers but also undermines road safety. Last year along with like-minded MEPs I presented a package of proposals to Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc. ETF’s proposals point in the same direction, and I’ll be stepping up the pressure on the Commissioner to get her to take them on board when she, as she has previously announced she would, comes up with her own legislative proposals early next year.”

Regarding the most important of the proposals, De Jong said: “Transport firms guilty of social dumping should lose their licences to operate within the EU. Member states should be making additional agreements on providing sufficient capacity in their inspectorates and inspectors must be given access to existing national and European electronic registers listing breaches by transport companies. We shouldn’t have to wait years for the introduction of the smart tachograph which automatically registers the location of a truck. It must be introduced as soon as possible.”

To put an end to the mailbox companies in low wage countries, the EU should, in the view of the ETF, tighten up the rules for registering an establishment . De Jong is in full support of these demands, as he explained: “Sufficient parking places for the entire fleet of trucks and tighter demands regarding the financial reserves of such undertakings could help to determine whether we are dealing in each case with a real company or glorified employment agencies.”

Finally, rules on cabotage are in need of clarification and of tightening up. “The trade union movement is in favour of allowing a maximum of a single domestic journey in connection with an international trip, which must be taken within seven days,” he said. “As things stand three trucks are permitted, while the European Commission is toying with the thought of allowing an unlimited number of domestic loads within a shorter period, for example of three days. This would encourage abuses, but in addition the ETF’s proposals will in my opinion only work if following the international journey the trucks are obliged to return to the country in which the haulage firm is registered. Otherwise you’ll continue the practice of trucks which don’t cross the border and then, for example, wait for a new load at a border location such as, in the case of the Netherlands, Hazeldonk.”.

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