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Forget the European Social Pillar, just put an end to social dumping

26 Apr 2017

Forget the European Social Pillar, just put an end to social dumping

Foto: SP

Today’s presentation of the Commission’s plans for a Social Pillar coincided with a demonstration by European transport unions against social dumping in the road haulage sector. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong was one of the speakers at the demo. “What good are vague words about social rights to a truck driver, if exploitation and oppression are simply going to continue in road transport?” he asked. “Let the Commission prioritise measures to end practices which mean that drivers are subject to increasing exploitation.”

For years now De Jong has been urging Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, to propose such measures, but as he explains, with no real success. “Originally the European Commissioner seemed sensitive to the inhuman conditions on the roads: eastern European drivers who have to cook their meals at the side of their lorries and pass the night in their cabs or in containers, Bulc agreed that this kind of thing wasn’t acceptable. But what I’m hearing now is that all she wants to do is to make the existing regulations more flexible. That’s a slap in the face for the drivers.”

The Commission is using this Social Pillar to try and give itself a more social face, but in De Jong’s view this isn’t really what’s happening. “We already have a magnificent instrument on social rights,” he points out. “The Council of Europe’s European Social Charter. I’ve been urging the Commission to ensure that the EU becomes party to this charter for I don’t know how long. The Commission is doing nothing about that, but is now itself proposing an incomplete and weaker catalogue of social rights. This won’t improve the situation, but do the very opposite.”

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