Romanian truck driver Lucian sends open letter to Brussels politicians!

2018-Jan-23

My name is Lucian Mititelu and I’m a former driver of the company Bring Trucking A.S. Please take into consideration that I’m not a lawyer, but with what I learned until now I have plenty of questions to which politicians seem to refuse to answer.

Into the transport industry we shouldn’t ask only if the Regulation (EC) 561/2006 FORBIDS the normal weekly rest to be taken into the vehicle, but if it ALLOWS it.

Why it is so important to use the word “allow” instead of “forbid”? Because by asking the question “does it allows?”, we can get a much easier answer, without the help of ECJ and we can easily notice that the Regulation (EC) 561/2006 at article 8 (8) introduces some exceptions which are mentioned as the DAILY rests and the clearly specified REDUCED weekly rests. This rests are ALLOWED to be taken into the vehicle by using the words: “MAY be taken”. It is true, it doesn’t mention clearly if the normal weekly break is forbidden to be taken into the vehicle, but we don’t talk about that here. We talk about being allowed or not.

Which is the difference between forbiding and allowing. If the law would have said that is forbiden, then every country around Europe could have enforced this provision even if the transporter wasn’t registered into the country where the control it is done. Without the word “forbid”, a certain country can’t check a foreign transporter since they don’t know and aren’t allowed to enforce the laws of this other country (ECJ clarified the issue of being forbidden or not on 20 December 2017). Yet, every country still has the obligation to respect it’s own laws and to enforce them, which is why we care if is allowed that the normal weekly breaks to be taken into the vehicles.

At this moment, as long as the Regulation 561 doesn’t introduce an exception regarding the normal weekly rest, I’ll have few questions for the Romanian government, other governments around Europe and even the EC.

FACTS:
In the Romanian employment law the articles 44 (2) and 46 (4) mention clearly that the delegated/detached employees have the right to be covered for the expenses with the accomodation, the transport and they also have the right to a daily allowance (meant to cover only the extra expenses with the food, water and other unexpected expenses, but not the accommodation or transport). All the drivers are getting the daily allowance, eventual the transport, but I never heard someone to be covered for the expenses with the accommodation.

When France introduced the law which was clearly forbidding the drivers to take the normal weekly rests into their vehicles, the Romanian transporters union UNTRR declared that a possible solution is that the drivers will sleep into the tents near the trucks ( http://bit.ly/drivers-tent ), proofing the transporters concept of accommodation.

We all know the BBC investigation regarding IKEA and the transporter Bring (Bring is a Norwegian state owned company). The representative of the group Posten/Bring, John Eckhoff, has declared that the company has various places where the drivers can sleep. One of the oldest places it is placed in Seevetal, near Hamburg in Germany. The photography attached proofs the huge diference between what the company management declares and what the drivers are getting as well as the lack of respect for the laws and drivers rights. To be noted that the photography represents the comunication system of Bring Trucking A.S. and is taken after that the BBC investigation was published, proofing that they continue to go the same way as before. (I also have an older photography proofing the same politic in Bring Trucking).

QUESTIONS:
1. What the EC did at least in the last 11 years (by when we have the Regulation 561/2006) to make sure that the drivers will get proper accommodation since it introduced some exceptions into the article 8 (8) of the Regulation (CE) 561/2006 for the clear reason that the trucks can’t be considered as being a proper accommodation? Even more, this exceptions can be considered as acceptable only if the drivers will accept it (I won’t debate here, yet, why many of the drivers can be blackmailed to “choose” the vehicles).

2. What the Romanian governments and control authorities have done to enforce the Romanian employment law since the entire Romanian transport industry don’t offer accomodation for the normal weekly rest when the employee is delegated or detached and there isn’t any law to introduce an exception from this obligation? How the Romanian authorities are colaborating with each other to help the workers?

3. What other governments have done to enforce similar laws which I supose that every European country has?

4. How that EC is investing into defending the rights for a minimum living space and other living conditions for prisoners but not for it’s workers? (see the document from the next link: https://rm.coe.int/16806cc449 ).

The document proofs that the prisoners have so many rights to which the drivers are only dreaming (ex: the living space). Yes, it’s true that the prisoners are sporting some consequences caused by their unsocial behavior, but should the drivers support even part of similar consequences for their wish and need to work? (see especially the most affected drivers which are the Eastern international drivers).

While the previous mentioned document specify an entire list of living condition for prisoners, the Regulation (CE) 561/2006, Art. 8(8) only set the fact that the vehicle should have “SUITABLE SLEEPING FACILITIES”. A driver said into a discution: “We should think to become thieves?”. This is the kind of question which our governments and EC wish to ask ourselves?

5. Can EC and governments around EU and EEA tell us why in 2018 some laws are still OPTIONAL to be respected by a huge amount of the employers affecting directly their employees and indirectly the loyal competition between the employees but even between the companies.

6. If the drivers aren’t even able to defend their right to an accomodation during the normal weekly break, caused in a major proportion by the lack of suport from the authorities, how can someone pretend that the drivers are “choosing” to sleep into their trucks during the daily rest and the reduced weekly rest? (My answer to this question is: because to many industries have the interest to be kept this way). Why there are so many efforts made just to proof that the drivers are CHOOSING to sleep into the trucks, negating in this way their right to accomodation, a right which all the other workers have without beeing questioned.

I was treating only the issue of the normal weekly break and a little bit about the drivers “choice”. There are so many other questions and aspects to talk about.

(Open letter sent on the 18th of January to Transport Commissioner Bulc, Employment Commissioner Thyssen, and to MEPs Wim Van de Camp, Claudia Tapardel, Michael Cramer, Lucy Anderson)

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