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EP rejects dangerous Commission proposal on working time for truckers

Date

16 Jun 2010

Sections

Transport

Welcoming the European Parliament vote on the Bauer report on working time for road transport workers, Portuguese GUE/NGL MEP Ilda Figueiredo said the Commission's proposals would have undermined safety on European roads and was based on the false assumption that allowing self-employed truckers to work up to 86 hours per week would not have a negative impact on road safety.

Vote result: 368 in favour of rejection of the Commission proposal, 301 against, 8 abstentions

"It is good news for road transport workers that the Commission proposal has been rejected by Parliament. The exclusion of self-employed drivers from the legislation would have effectively introduced the 86-hour working week into the sector merely to facilitate the profit margins of big business. As well as the safety implications, social dumping and employment deregulation would have been encouraged through the proliferation of bogus "self-employed" contracts". These proposals are finished now. The Commission may only come forward with a completely new proposal on working time in road transport”, she said.

Taking into account the arguments and studies that demonstrate the dangers of adopting such a proposal, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs had twice rejected it. Regrettably, rapporteur Bauer, with support from the Commission and Council insisted on single-handedly continuing talks with the Council on the issue, snubbing the Committee decision.

"How can it be safe for European citizens to share the roads as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians with over-tired heavy-vehicle drivers?" Figueiredo said. Studies show that fatigue has the same effect as alcohol intoxication and is a significant factor in approximately 20% of commercial road transport crashes.

Also speaking on the issue, German MEP Thomas Händel said the Commission and Bauer's text was "about nothing more than an extension of the working hours worked of the self-employed".

"The protection of people against excessive working hours is a 150 year old problem. It does not matter whether it is a self-employed or salaried driver that is overworked; it's about protecting people from the excessive working hours that lead to an increased risk of accidents” he said.

GUE/NGL PRESS CONTACTS:

David Lundy + 32 485 50 58 12

Gianfranco Battistini + 32 475 64 66 28

Sonja Giese + 32 486 94 50 21

www.guengl.eu

Gauche Unitaire Européenne / Gauche Verte Nordique

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

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