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The new political agreement adopted on 3rd December by the Council of the European Transport Ministers aims to harmonize the social rights for transport sector workers and to ensure more balanced and fair competition in transport within the European Union.
This agreement is part of an extensive legislative process called the trialogue process, because of its three-way negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The new agreement will now pass to the Parliament for further negotiation. The trialogue process is going to take a few months before that the agreement can be accepted as a new EU regulation.
In regards to the posted workers’ rights for the transport sector, the agreement confirms the application of the minimum wage rules of the country where the driver is posted for cabotage and international transport operations. Bilateral transport (one only trip to the destination country and back) and transit may be the only exempted operations from the minimum wage rules.
The proposals concerning cabotage (transport companies operations carried out within a national market outside their own country), plan to introduce a 5-days waiting period, called “cooling period”, obliging foreign drivers to leave the Country to which they are posted, after a period of authorized cabotage. In this way, drivers will benefit from new rights, such as the right to return regularly to their country of origin every 3 to 4 weeks.
This agreement confirms the obligation of regular weekly rest for drivers.
Last but not least, implementation of new smart tachographs is planned by 2024 in all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and by 2022 in all new vehicles. This second-generation tachograph will provide geolocation of vehicles, so that data such as border crossings will be automatically recorded as well as the place of loading and unloading of goods, making controls about posting of workers more efficient
While waiting for the EU Council agreement will be discussed both by the EU Parliament and EU Commission, all present regulations in terms of Minimum Wage in the Countries where the Directive has been introduced continue to apply to road hauliers.