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MEPs must exclude self-employed drivers from the working time directive and show pragmatism on its scope and night work


16 Mar 2010



The IRU supports an EU level exclusion from the Working Time Directive for self-employed drivers, while asserting Member States’ right to include them where needed and  their obligation to crackdown on fake self-employment. 

Brussels - The European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee in its forthcoming discussions on 17 March should follow the approach of its Rapporteur Mrs Edith Bauer (EPP Slovakia) and agree a general exclusion from the Working Time Directive for self employed drivers at EU level. However, the IRU maintains that this should not remove the right of each EU Member State to apply the Directive  at national level nor their duty to take more stringent measures against fake self-employment.

The President of the IRU Goods Transport Liaison Committee (CLTM) to the EU, Dr Alexander Sakkers, said ‘Two things should be remembered: first, strict safety standards for road transport are already applied to drivers of commercial vehicles via the EU Driving and Rest Time Rules Regulation, irrespective of their employment status. Second, roughly 67.4% of all road freight transport activities in the EU are performed at national level. Therefore, it makes sense to apply a general exclusion of self-employed owner drivers from the Directive at EU level, yet to maintain the possibility for individual EU Member States to assess their labour markets and decide whether to apply additional working time limits to such drivers registered on their territory’’. 

Notwithstanding this necessary flexibility for genuine self-employed drivers, the IRU insists that those creating and accepting fake self-employment must be stopped from causing unacceptable damage to the road transport sector by circumventing their legal and financial responsibilities. They should be rooted out or forced to comply through much stronger national enforcement. 

The IRU supports  the Commission’s proposal of defining a period of ‘night work’ as being at least two hours work during the nationally defined ‘night time’ period, since it brings consistency with other working time legislation. MEPs should thus refrain from limiting the ability of Member States to define the ‘night-time’ period in accordance with national needs derived from geography or efficient traffic management strategies.

MEPs must also reject any attempt to extend the scope of the Directive to drivers of vehicles below 3.5 tonnes. This would be extremely premature and go well beyond the scope of the Commission proposal and impact assessment.

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