Intervention no. 1081/23.03.2015, for the kind attention of Mr. Martin Schulz – President of the European Parliament ref. professional road transport associations protest against neo-protectionism in European road transport

Dear Mr. President of the European Parliament,

On behalf of the National Union of Road Hauliers from Romania (UNTRR) – employers’ professional organization which promotes nationally and internationally the interests of Romanian transport companies performing road transport of passengers and goods,

We would like to inform you hereby concerning the protest action to be organized by UNTRR Romania together with our colleague associations from Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland on 25 March 2015, from 14h00 to 16h00 in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, at Place du Luxemburg. We will protest against neo-protectionism in European road transport, asking for European Parliament’s support to urgently cancel the application of German minimum wage law – MiLoG and the similar French law draft – Macron to the road transport companies from our countries.

Our professional road transport associations and their members will protest in Brussel, following a wave of protests at national level, started in Romania and Poland earlier this month. The protest is authorized by the Mayor of Brussels and it is organized in connection to the European Parliament (EP) plenary sitting on 25.03.2015 in Brussels, having on its agenda a discussion about protectionism in EU: “Minimum rates of pay in the transport sector”, including a “Commission statement on Compliance of the German provisions with European law on the minimum wage in the transport sector”.

Our protest action reflects the increasing anxiety of Eastern European road transport companies and our associations’ dissatisfaction with the neo-protectionist measures in European road transport undertaken recently by certain developed EU Member States:

– German law on minimum wage – MiLoG enforced since the 1st of January 2015, abusively imposes a minimum wage of EUR 8.5 per hour to be paid to the foreign professional drivers when performing international transport and cabotage on German territory.

Despite all of our associations’ interventions addressed to national, European and German institutions and also despite the common letter signed by the ministers of 11 European Members States addressing to the German Government serious concerns on the impact to the EU transport sector of the Minimum Wage Act adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Government still maintains the application of MiLoG to international road transport operations and cabotage and moreover, the German Customs – as the enforcement authority for MiLoG hasn’t provided us until now with the necessary information concerning the calculation of the minimum wage for our drivers, the elements of this minimum wage considering also the labor legislation of our Member States and the relevant documents to prove the payment of German minimum wage by our hauliers to their drivers.

This lack of information increases the uncertainty for our members – Eastern European road transport companies having to comply with additional labor legislation to their own national laws and to the EU regulations, imposed abusively by Germany without proper information but with extremely high fines of up to 500.000 Euro in the case of no compliance!

– French law draft for boosting growth and activity in French economy – Macron introduces a French minimum wage of 9.61 Euro/hour, abusively providing that foreign (Romanian) drivers performing international transport and cabotage on French territory should be paid by their Romanian employers with the French wages negotiated by collective labor agreements at transport sector level in France (9.79 Euro/hour?!).

– French Law no.2014-790 to combat social and unfair competition, forbids professional drivers to spend the regular weekly rest in the cabin of the vehicle. This legislation is targeting mainly foreign/Eastern drivers and not the French drivers who naturally spend their weekly rest at home. Failure to comply with this law is sanctioned by huge and unjustified fines up to 30 000 Euro and one year imprisonment. Although until today no application norms were issued by the French Government, French enforcers started fining Eastern drivers from Romania and Poland for spending their weekly rest in the cabin!

Similar measures were also undertaken by Belgium last year and other Western Member States may follow… Quo vadis the European Union?

These protectionist actions undertaken by German and French Government are severely affecting the freedom to provide services on the European market – a fundamental principle of the European Union and its Single Market. In this way, Germany and other developed Member States like France are raising barriers to Eastern EU competitors by accusing them of social dumping, a term used more and more for justifying these protectionist measures. The “social dumping” allegation is misused since the differences between Western and Eastern EU wages are not an unfair practice but a consequence of different living and social standards within EU. If analyzing the real situation on EU transport market, Western Member States would understand that Eastern hauliers don’t take Westerner’s jobs, but do their jobs!

The purpose of our protest action is to raise the awareness of European Parliament on the fact that these recent neo protectionist measures create a dangerous precedent for the European Union – having an important EU Member State like Germany or France imposing its national regulations over the other 27 EU Member States, without the European Commission or the European Parliament! In this way, EU is going towards self- destruction. EU is more powerful united than divided and it is very important to realize this until it is not too late. Our associations express their firm positions against the protectionist measures taken by Germany and France and ask European Parliament to undertake by emergency all the necessary measures for the cancellation of these protectionist measures.

Expressing our trust in European Parliament’s support for our action against neoprotectionism in European road transport, we\are looking forward to receiving your reply and assure you of our highest consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Secretary General
Radu Dinescu

Click here to download PDF