EU transport ministers have reached an agreement in Brussels on measures in the road transport sector that improve working conditions for lorry drivers and combat social dumping.

Before the new rules come into force, an agreement with the European Parliament has yet to be found. The Austrian Transport Minister Norbert Hofer says that the living and working conditions of two million drivers in Europe are being improved. Equal pay will apply to equal work on the same location. Abuses on overcrowded motorway parking lots are eliminated.

Especially in Western Europe, countries have complained for a long time that social dumping and unfair competition prevail in the transport sector. Belgium agreed with France, Austria, Denmark, Germany Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden to act together on this.

In the compromise, which still has to be negotiated with the European Parliament, a foreign haulier who transports goods in Belgium or another EU country will receive equal pay for equal work. To prevent improper use of the so-called cabotage, there will be a compulsory break of five days between such journeys. Truckers will now be allowed to travel in Europe for up to four weeks at a time.
Rest in cabin

Sleeping in the cabin for the weekend rest of 45 hours remains prohibited. Transport companies will be obliged to pay an overnight stay for their drivers. However, the European Commission is launching a study into the availability of well-protected parking places where drivers can equip themselves in their truck.

From 2024 all international trucks must be equipped with a smart tachograph that registers where and when a truck has crossed the border and keeps track of all loading and unloading movements.

“For the time being, we are relieved to be relieved, but there is still no question of a harassment”, ACV-Transcom reacts to the agreement this morning.

The relief has to do with a number of proposals that did not reach the agreement. For example, according to ACV-Transcom, it was considered to be allowed to take the weekly rest back into the cabin, or to work for three weeks at a time with only two interruptions of 24 hours. Such proposals were “unacceptable” for the trade union and have therefore not been met.

But the fight has not yet been fought, the trade union adds. “We remain on our guard” for the great dangers that are sometimes hidden in small corners “. For example, an agreement has to be found with the European Parliament. It is also questionable to what extent the rules will be verifiable. Will employers, for example, be willing to pay an overnight stay for their drivers outside the cab?

“We will be able to make the final assessment of the agreement in about a year or a year and a half,” says Jan Sannen, the general sector manager transport and logistics of ACV-Transcom. “We probably have to visit a motorway parking lot on a night or weekend to see how many drivers there are cooking their pots on a gas stove.”

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