Ready to go! ETF Strasbourg demonstration, 29 May!

2018-May-28

Hundreds of professional drivers and union activists are on their way to Strasbourg, France, to make their voice heard on the EU Mobility Package. More than 3 000 000 EU citizens work in bus, coach and lorry transport, and the EU has launched a reform of their wage levels, driving time and rest periods. The decisions will have a major impact on road safety and drivers’ working conditions.

This is now in the hands of the European Parliament whose Committee for Transport will vote on these changes in a week’s time, on Monday 4 June. A majority of the committee members would like to see:

  • a new driving and rest time regime for truck drivers, based on 3 weeks of continuous driving with only 2 days off. This, instead of 2 weeks of driving with 3 days off as stipulated by the current rules
  • in bus and coach transport, the driver’s daily working time will be extended, and a 12-day consecutive driving period without any day off will be permitted
  • the possibility to use low-income drivers to perform international transport in countries with better standards and wage levels

On 4 June the European Parliament will also decide on whether or not to improve the rest conditions of thousands of drivers currently spending their week-ends in lorries, by roads and motorways, a practice ruled as illegal by the European Court of Justice in December 2017. It is more than likely that the EP vote will legalise the week-end sleep in the cabin, as this is part of the current deal!

The ETF demonstration will show the strength of our demands and encourage MEPs to keep supporting our positions as the Mobility Package is finalised.

But working conditions are not the only element drivers and their unions fight for. They also want better road safety for all and less accidents involving trucks, buses and coaches!

In Belgium – the very place where the EP TRAN Committee will be casting its vote in two weeks’ time – press reports covering the first 5 months of 2018 show that between 1 and 3 accidents involving trucks, buses and coaches occur every week! Data from the Belgian Federal Ministry of Mobility and Transport indicates that in 2016 the average rate of accidents involving trucks was 6 per day – a total of 2,055 for the year. 90% of the victims were car occupants. The main cause of these accidents is the human element, with fatigue at its core. Is this not enough? Should the European Parliament really consider making rules more flexible just to please the business?

Trade unions from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden have already alerted the national press and NGOs with a road safety interest about the safety risks the revision about to be voted by the MEPs on 4 June.

It’s time we see a vote in favour of our citizens and their core concerns!

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