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European Parliament working time vote endangers EU jobs and entrepreneurship


16 Jun 2010



IRU deplores MEPs’ decision to follow dogmatism instead of reason when voting to include road transport independents under working time rules and calls upon the European Commission to table a new proposal exempting self-employed entrepreneurs from the scope of the Directive.

Brussels - The IRU strongly condemns today’s rejection by the Plenary of the European Parliament of the European Commission’s proposal to exclude self employed drivers from the scope of the Sectoral Road Transport Working Time Directive, as it will threaten EU jobs and entrepreneurial spirit contradicting the objectives of the Lisbon agenda.

The President of the IRU’s EU Goods Transport Liaison Committee, Alexander Sakkers, said, “This vote by the EU Parliament is a triumph of dogmatism over pragmatism and completely disregards what the road sector actually needs. Rejecting the Commission proposal will not only result in lost jobs and competitiveness in road transport, but will create a precedent to extend such rules to the self employed in other sectors too. The competitiveness of the whole European economy is therefore at risk. Despite the rejection by Parliament today we urge the Commission to come forward with a new proposal that will still seek to exempt true self employed entrepreneurs from these rules.’’

Today’s negative vote is also due to false claims and misinformation about the working hours of those not covered by the Directive, as well as faulty arguments that working time rules are vital for road safety, which is simply not the case, as an extremely extensive road safety regulatory framework already exists for commercial vehicle drivers whether self employed or not.

The vote today has also rejected two more major steps forward, since:

·       the Commission proposal would have given Member States better criteria for identifying fake self employment in the sector, as well as establishing mechanisms for exchanging international best practices to support a crackdown on the phenomenon. The IRU fully supports efforts to eliminate illegal employment which damages the sector’s image, profitability and places responsible employers and workers at a competitive disadvantage;

·       the Commission proposal would have obliged Member States for the first time to introduce proper controls on working time and to commit adequate resources for that task.

Furthermore, the extension of the Directive’s scope to the self employed at EU level will make current working time rules even harder to enforce.  

The IRU urges the Commission to issue a new proposal that will give all parties the chance to reconsider the vital need to reform the Directive in order to maintain jobs, entrepreneurship, competitiveness and properly enforced working time rules.

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Read the Updated IRU Position on the revision of the EU Working Time Directive

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