The debate on the minimum wage in the transport sector – Plenary session of the European Parliament, Brussels 25/03/2015

The European Parliament plenary session agenda, 25.03.2015 in Brussels, was on the minimum wage in the transport sector, in which were discussed:

  • Employment requirements, including the minimum wage level, regarding the transport sector
  • EU law compliance of the German policies on the minimum wage in the transport sector.


The debate had been chairmaned by vice-president Ramón Luis VALCÁRCEL and vice-president GÁLL-PELCZ

Marita Ulvskog, member of the European Parliament – Employment and Social Relations Comitee (EMPL) has addressed an oral answer question to the European Commission (O-000019/2015), regarding the employment conditions, including the minimum wage levels, on the transport sector (2015/2571(RSP)) (B6-0106/2015). Marita Ulvskog (author) asked the question:

Most of the Member States have implemented minimum wage levels on all the sectors, including the transportation sector. These requirements are also implemented by some of the states for foreign transport companies regarding the minimum wage and administrative requirements (like the pre-authorisation) when these companies operate foreign transport procedures like transit, international operations or cabotage. This could result in barriers on the domestic market, influencing the free movement of the goods, services and workers.

  1. Which are the EU and national law stipulations that the commission find applicable to truck drivers and other workers providing services in another Member State, regarding the employment requirements and the law valid in the transited or host Member State? How can the domestic regulations cover the foreign road transport procedures?
  2. How does the Commission consider this kind of transport procedures in regards to the employment requirements and the law being applied to the working relationships at the moment of the service, and regarding the workers movement Directive and Rome I Regulation?
  3. What steps is the Commission going to take in order to protect the social rights of the workers from the road transport sector?


The Declaration of the European Commission (EC) on the accordance with the EU law of the German stipulations on the minimum wage in the transport sector (2015/2620(RSP))


The European Commissioner for Transport, Ms Violeta BULC, stated during the plenary session that the EC appreciates the setting of a minimum wage but still the EC did not yet reached a decision regarding the abiding of the EU law by the German law of the minimum wage, needing to continue the investigation and procedures.

The interventions of the European Parliament Members

David Casa, representing PPE Group, referred to the impact of MiLoG on the free movement of services in the EU, and to the wage differences in the EU as a result of the principle of alternate upon which every Member State sets the national wage level.


Jutta Steinruck, representing S&D Group, appreciates that the driver should follow the work law of the state he is making the transport in, as he should follow its driving rules. S&D Group wants to protect the workers against exploitation and “modern slavery” being against social dumping and disloyal competition.


Richard Sulík, representing ECR Group, appreciates that Germany is abusively imposing the minimum wage regulation upon the foreign drivers in order to shut its market. Considering the discriminatory character of this regulation, the EC must make Germany apply MiLoG domestically only.


Martina Dlabajová, representing ALDE Group, warned on the danger of a chain reaction after the German model, resulting a contradiction with the EU principles, and against the EU spirit. This is a political problem for the EU that must not take any step backwards. The ALDE member of the European Parliament, met with the representatives of the transporters protesting against MiLoG in front of the European Parliament, before this plenary session, showing that uncertainty is extremely negative for the business area and the transport companies have been struggling for three months with this, since the implementation of MiLoG. ALDE asks the EC for a firm stand and the publication of the German Government answers on the MiLoG issue.


Patrick Le Hyaric, representing GUE/NGL Group, appreciates that social progress is most important.


Terry Reintke, representing Verts/ALE Group, appreciates that there is an unbalance between the EU unique market and the different social standards in the EU. The EC must come forth with a proposal able to secure decent work inside a social and fair Europe.


Laura Agea, representing EFDD Group, appreciates that EU is a team but does not follow the same rules. The reason for the social dumping is the lack of a homogeneous law in the EU and the proliferation of the domestic law. EFDD Group asks for the settlement of the market with specific European rules.


Vicky Maeijer, non-affiliated, appreciates that the problem is not the minimum wage but the burden of the specific administrative bureaucracy.

Marian-Jean Marinescu, Romanian Member of the European Parliament from the PPE Group and TRAN member, appreciates that the minimum wage applies to the citizens from that specific state and under no circumstance to the foreign workers. The imposing of the German minimum wage on the foreign drivers and the demand for the check documents, is obviously braking the unique market principles, thus being a dangerous precedent. The new regulations imposed by Germany are outside the European regulations and are followed by abnormal penalties, being obvious that these are protective measures. The Romanian member of the European Parliament asks EC to lunch the infringement procedures in this case.


István Ujhelyi, Hungarian member of the European Parliament and TRAN vice-president, informed that he took part in the protest against the neo protectionism in the European road transport, organized by the road hauliers associations representing transport companies from Hungary, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania, which handed him in a common petition addressed to the European Parliament. The Hungarian member of the European Parliament will send this petition to all the Members of the European Parliament.

Bogusław Liberadzki, S&D Group, answered a question asked accordingly to the “blue card” procedure, by István Ujhelyi, showing that the bus drivers are not moved workers in Germany and the EC must apply the existing law.

Next, the following Members of the European Parliament ruled against MiLoG:

  • Tomasz Piotr Poręba – ECR: MiLoG brakes the free transit principle
  • Gesine Meissner – ALDE, who also answered a question asked according to the “blue card” procedure by Ismail Ertug showed that Germany has overreacted because of a obsession for the detail” (transit operations). Life conditions are different between Member States and Germany opened a Pandora box and France wants to do the same. The ALDE Member of the European Parliament asks what happens to a company that operates road transport in countries with dfferent minimum wages, concluding that MiLoG contravenes EU law.
  • José Inácio FARIA, ALDE
  • Kateřina Konečná, GUE/NGL
  • Dominique Riquet, ALDE
  • Kosma Złotowski, ECR
  • Danuta Jazłowiecka, PPE
  • Evžen Tošenovský, ECR
  • Nikolay Barekov, ECR
  • Deirdre Clune, PPE
  • Zigmantas Balčytis, S&D: MiLoG does not fight against social dumping but interferes other state’s law
  • Dawid Bohdan Jackiewicz, ECR
  • Sven Schulze, PPE

The following Members of the European Parliament ruled for MiLoG

  • Tania González Peñas- GUE/NGL, appreciates that must be fought against the unfair procedures of relocation of the companies in countries with lower wages, showing that workers cannot chose the working conditions and it the EC responsibility to equalize the working conditions throughout Europe.
  • Karima Delli – Verts/ALE, who also answered a question asked according to the “blue card” procedure by Ivan Jakovčić, showed that there is a wild competition in the road transports, with the exploitation of undeclared workers and modern slavery, being necessary a EU Agency for the work inspection to secure minimal standards for employees and a minimum wage throughout the EU to secure the same wage for the same type of work being paid in all the EU countries
  • Peter Lundgren, EFDD appreciates that the cabotage rules of the EU are wrong and it is not about protection but about a problem of ethics.
  •  Lampros Fountoulis, NI appreciates that there is need for solidarity inside EU for a Europe of nations, not of profiteers.
  • Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, S&D
  • Daniela Aiuto, EFDD
  • Christine Revault D’Allonnes Bonnefoy, S&D
  • Anders Primdahl Vistisen, ECR
  • Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, PPE
  • Ole Christensen, S&D
  • Olga Sehnalová, S&D
  • Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, PPE
  • Siôn Simon, S&D
  • Ismail Ertug, S&D
  • Anne Sander, PPE

At the end of the debate, the Commissioner Violeta Bulc, has declared that the EC will take into consideration the worries and the problems raised by the Members of the European Parliament who emphasized on the necessity of the clarification of this situation as soon as possible. She also showed that the EC will prepare a new set of steps for the road transport by 2016 in order to secure the social proceedings and rules.
The debate ended