The first part of the Mobility package has gone through the next stage of the legislation-making process – the Transport Committee vote in the European Parliament on 4 June 2018. This vote has defined the important for shippers provisions on the application of the posting of workers, cabotage, red tape, and rest in the cabin.
Posting of Workers
The EP Transport Committee considered the European Commission’s proposal to apply the rules on posting of workers for both, international and national operations. These rules would include an obligation to pay the wage of the Member State where services are delivered and this rule would apply as from the fifth day of the services delivery in that country calculated on a monthly basis. However, with the present tools available it is not an easy task to accomplish. Therefore, the Transport Committee decided to apply this rule only for national operations delivered by a company from another Member State.
For cabotage, there is an obligation to pay for the services according to the standards of the country where the operations are undertaken. If a foreign operator is delivering services in Belgium between Brussels and Antwerp there will be an obligation to pay the Belgian minimum wage.
The European Parliament decided to restrict the cabotage rules: foreign hauliers are only allowed to provide services for two days following an international operation. The number of services is not restricted. After this operation, they should leave this Member State. After a period of seven days of cabotage in different Member States, they are obliged to return to the country of establishment. They should respect a “cooling-down” period of three days before starting performing new cabotage operations.
ESC considers the legislation as overly complex, although it might give more flexibility than the present situation of three voyages in seven days. However, compared to the original proposal of the European Commission of five days of unlimited service, the Transport Committee’s decision is a limitation:
• Current situation: 7 days, 3 voyages
• EC proposal: 5 days, unlimited voyages
• EP TRAN Committee vote: 2 days in one MS, unlimited voyages (with additional cabotage in other MS; max 7 days in total)
For ESC, the decision on red tape has positive and negative sides. The Transport Committee has taken aboard our concern on the red tape in the international operations if the posting of workers directive had been applied fully to these operations. However, ESC would welcome a further liberalization of transport. In the present tense labor market, each opportunity for extra and more capacity would be positive.
Rest in the cabin
Long weekend rest in the cabin is only allowed at a safe parking according to the standards voted for by the TRAN committee. For shippers, it is important that cargo is secured during long periods of rest. However, the drivers’ wellbeing cannot be neglected either. Therefore, there is an urgent need for safe and secure parking areas (including those outside the big logistical hubs).
ESC will continue lobbying for sufficient financial funds to have such parking facilities available.
Final decision later this year
The Transport Committee of the European Parliament does not make decisions on its own. The Transport Council (Member States) is considering the same proposals of the European Commission. Decision-making process in the Council has been rather cumbersome until now. Final conclusions are probably not being issued before October 2018. The Parliament and the Council should find a compromise to have the current legislation amended. ESC and its members will continue lobbying the institutions during this decision-making process.