This Wednesday, the European Transport Workers' Federation ETF called on its associated trade unions to join in a demonstration in Brussels to draw attention to the poor working conditions in the transport industry.
The ETF trade unions criticise the fact that the currently planned measures by the EU Commission for the road initiative would be exclusively market oriented and contain no measures to improve the living and working conditions of drivers. Due to the forced liberalisation of the transport market, European transport policy has driven forward the abolition of technical, administrative and regulatory hurdles. The unrestricted mobility of goods and people is regarded as one of the key instruments for single market integration and more growth. However, the liberalisation process was by no means accompanied by a harmonisation of employment and social standards. On the contrary: the developments in the transport industry are a bitter example with regard to showing the consequences unrestricted competition and a lack of social integration might have for employees concerned.
Apart from trade unionists from Austria, Transport Minister Jörg Leichtfried had also come to Brussels to hold discussions with MEPs from the European Parliament's Committee on Transport. The two Social Democrat MEPs Evelyn Regner and Karoline Graswander-Hainz, who support the demands of the European transport trade unions, also participated in the demonstration. “Fair competition, where the social rights of employees are protected and road users are safe, must once again prevail in European road transport”, said Karoline Graswander-Hainz, transport spokesperson of the Austrian S&D delegation.
Violetta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport and Mobility referred to the Pillar of Social Rights, which was also presented this week: “Europe has no room for social dumping!” The Commission intends to present its so-called “Road Package” at the end of May.
Report by the ETF on the demonstration (English)