Although the Mobility Package I vows to improve working conditions, it would only limit access to some Western European countries. The social convergence as a natural process has lost its weight among decision-makers notwithstanding that so-called “new” EU Member States have been bridging the gap each year. Instead of it an unworkable slogan calling for “same pay for the same work in the same place” supported with legally unjustified term “social dumping” are being promoted.

Fact-check:

Wages in new EU states correspond their standards of living. The ratio of minimum and average wages in new and old member states is almost the same (respectively 43,1% and 41,5%, Eurostat, 2014);

Absolute level of labour cost is increasing faster in the members that joined EU in 2004 and 2007. The level of differences in wages is reducing to a point where the risk of unlawful behaviour is mitigated (EC report on Road Transport Market, 2014);

The Fluctuation of wages in transport sector in many old EU states differs even more significantly than in new members;

The access to road transport markets is already restricted through cabotage limitations introduced as a safeguard in the light of wage differences among EU Member States. If the principle of “equal pay for equal work in the same place” was to implemented the limitations on cabotage would have to be lifted in order to reach fair balance between social issues and competition in a Single Market of road transport.

What would Mobility Package I bring to the industry?

Weeks on wheels only to return home

Mobility package would protect nothing but national markets of some EU western countries. The social rights of drivers would not improve but become even worse as they would be obliged to spent weeks on wheels only to comply with return home rule. Return home could take ~ 1 week if weekly rest, public holidays or/and other driving restrictions included during a journey.

Excessive administrative burden

The application of PWD to international transport is not feasible due to its hypermobile nature. Drivers and hauliers provide services in several EU members each day. If we force them to comply with different national labour laws, numerous remuneration systems and different social entitlements every day the activity of the vast majority of small and medium size law-abiding companies will be significantly restricted.

The greater overall benefits in terms of social conditions of drivers, competition in the Single Market and efficiency of transport operations would come from better enforcement at the national level and coping with illegal practices. If this is not ensured, every regulatory measure runs a serious risk of punishing law-abiding companies, disproportionally increasing compliance costs, damaging competition and creating barriers in the Single Market, which directly negatively affects general economic development.

If not in a cabin, then where?

The initiative of the European Commission to conduct a study on safe and secure parking areas for taking regular weekly rest is very welcomed. However, the proposed ban on weekly rest in a cabin would be inapplicable for the time being due to considerable shortage of secure parking lots with accommodation facilities nearby. According to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), there are only 11 such parking lots in Germany, 8 – in France, and only 2 – in Belgium. Talking abount hauliers from peripheral EU Member States they would be even less flexible in organizing their drivers rest at home as companies that enjoy the advantage given by the geographical factor.

Road transport industry is ready to take care about social issues and speed up the social convergence. However, an administrative and technical barriers going in line with distortion of EU Single marke are to make it even worse.