After a night of negotiations, the EU Transport Ministers announced early Tuesday morning the decision to improve working conditions for lorry drivers in the European Union.
The transport ministers agreed that in future not only should working conditions for long-distance drivers be made more pleasant, but that drivers should also be protected against exploitation and wage dumping throughout the Union.
However, this decision must still be finally negotiated between the member states and the EU Parliament before a binding regulation or directive to be implemented results from the decision.
The most important of the points discussed was the fluctuating and different wages of truck drivers in the Union. In future, the same wage will also be paid for the same work at the same place, so that these differences no longer apply.
From now on, this regulation will apply to all long-distance drivers, regardless of the country of origin of the drivers.
From 2024, intelligent tachographs will automatically monitor the border crossings and locations of truck loads in order to make the system more transparent. These intelligent tachographs have been under discussion for a long time, but are now to be used 10 years earlier than previously planned.
No sleeping in the driver’s cabs
The mandatory weekly rest periods in the driver cabs will probably no longer be permitted in future. The truckers are to spend these times, for example, in hotels or freight forwarding accommodation paid for by the company.
The purpose is not only to make conditions more favourable to workers, but also to ensure the safety of long-distance lorry drivers, who can become attractive victims of robberies during longer stays for criminal gangs at unguarded rest stops. The relief of the parking spaces on the motorways at weekends is also an argument for the “cabin ban” at night.
The regular daily rest periods after the normal shifts will continue to allow long-distance drivers to stay overnight in their cabins. Other regulations that would prohibit overnight stays in the driver’s cab per se would violate the principle of personal freedom of movement, which is why a regular ban on sleeping in the cabs was abandoned.
In addition, the weekly working days are to be set at five days and it is also envisaged that truck drivers will be granted the right to home leave every four weeks at the latest. Exceptions should probably continue to exist in the future, but no further information on possible regulations has been provided so far.
In addition, agreement is to be reached in future on how these regulations are to be monitored so that the conditions laid down are also complied with throughout Europe and so that there are no longer any loopholes for freight forwarders to escape the new conditions.
Further developments remain to be seen. However, it is advisable for freight forwarders to deal with this issue in order to be able to adapt to and prepare for possible changes in legislation.