Austria: road transport unions sign Vienna Declaration

It has been almost 18 months since the European Commission launched its massive reform of the rules governing road transport in Europe, the so-called Mobility Package. But the EU institutions and member states are still arguing over how to move forward. Meanwhile, investigative reports reveal ever more cases of worker abuse and social dumping in the road transport sector.

This situation cannot continue. We need urgent improvements for the millions of professional drivers who move passengers and freight across Europe. But many voices are instead calling for drivers to have less rest, spend more time away from home, and be excluded from guarantees for fair pay when working across borders.

Workers and their unions have engaged constructively throughout this process. Now it is time to do so again, setting out a comprehensive vision for the EU Mobility Package. Meeting in Vienna on 30 – 31 October 2018, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and its affiliated trade unions from across Europe signed a declaration that offers a way forward.

The ETF’s vision for a fair Mobility Package:

A DECENT NIGHT’S SLEEP FOR DRIVERS. A set of mandatory rest conditions for professional drivers, and a total ban on spending the normal weekly rest period in a vehicle. Freedom for drivers to choose whether they spend their daily and reduced weekly rest periods in the vehicle provided.

A RIGHT TO FAMILY LIFE. International drivers should be guaranteed a return to their home country at least every 3 weeks.

SAFETY FOR ALL ROAD USERS. Europe needs no further flexibility on driving and rest time rules. The Commission suggests loosening these rules, but we must protect drivers, passengers and other road users from the dangers of fatigue on the road. Tiredness kills!

THE SAME PAY FOR THE SAME WORK IN THE SAME PLACE. To prevent social dumping and wage discrimination based on nationality, mobile workers should be paid at the rates of the country where they are working. Exemptions from posting rules in road transport must be limited. The system must be easy to enforce, with sanctions for rule breaking employers. The ETF fully supports the Danish model!

AN END TO LETTER BOX COMPANIES. We fully support the regular return of the vehicle – at least every 3 weeks – to the country where the transport company is established.

FAIR LIMITS ON CABOTAGE. Using a vehicle for work inside another EU state should be to avoid empty runs, not to distort markets and undercut local businesses. Cabotage must be of a short duration, performed on the way back to the operator’s country.

MODERN ENFORCEMENT OF MODERN RULES. We need to shift from paper-based to digital evidence and documentation, with an immediate introduction of the smart tachograph in all vehicles.

SOCIAL SECURITY FOR ALL. Every bus, coach and truck driver should be covered by the social security system of the Member State where (s)he usually works. Every driver should also have an EU social security number, to ensure access to aid and benefits and make cross-border controls easier.