Social Dumping and new Drivers’ Hours regulations

A trucker’s news special as several countries suddenly tighten rules and penalties in the face of widespread concern over ‘social dumping’. Meanwhile, Austria bans trucks from the outside lane(s) on its few multi-lane highways and the summer truck ban season is about to start in Italy (with link to calendar).

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SOCIAL DUMPING TRIGGERS DRIVERS’ HOURS CHANGES

France, Belgium, Holland and Sweden all tighten regulations.

AUSTRIA: from Sunday 1 June, trucks 7.5t+ will no longer be allowed in the left-most lane(s) of three and four lane highways on safety grounds. However, the vast majority of motorways in Austria are dual carriageway – three laners account for 700km and four lanes for just 40km out of 2178km in total. Also, national roads operator ASFINAG has clarified the weekend, public holiday and night-time driving ban times which apply to trucks 7.5t+, and other trucks with a trailer of MPW of 3.5t+. See below for link.

AUSTRIA: from Sunday 1 June, trucks 7.5t+ will no longer be allowed in the left-most lane(s) of three and four lane highways on safety grounds. However, the vast majority of motorways in Austria are dual carriageway. Three laners account for 700km and four lanes for just 40km out of 2178km in total. Also, national roads operator ASFINAG has clarified the weekend, public holiday and night-time driving ban times which apply to trucks 7.5t+, and other trucks with a trailer of MPW of 3.5t+. See below for link.

The term ‘social dumping’ is becoming widely understood throughout Western Europe’s haulage industry.

As defined by the EU it means ‘where foreign firms undercut local providers because their labour standards are lower’.

Truckers have long complained about being unfairly undercut by their Eastern Europe counterparts and now their governments are doing something about it.

France, Belgium, Holland and Sweden have all announced changes to their drivers’ hours regulations recently.

As of 1 June drivers will no longer be allowed to take their 45 hour weekly rest period inside a vehicle in France (see the regulation here). The penalty for employers is one year in prison and a €30,000 fine. Update: it now emerges the regulation is merely under consideration.

A similar law is proposed in Belgium on pain of a €1,500 fine – or charges of human trafficking for long term repeat offenders – with more tightening and enforcement of the regulations promised in the near future.

Meanwhile in Holland, fines for falsifying drivers’ hours almost triple from Sunday 1 June, jumping from €550 to €1,500 with employers facing a maximum fine of €4,400.

If approved by parliament, from 1 January 2015 the rules on cabotage – one country’s haulier operating in another – will be strengthened in Sweden. Fines will increase to €4,400 and police will be able to confiscate offender’s vehicles.

While there’s no mention that these rule changes are co-ordinated – the EU actually wants to liberalise cabotage rules, for instance – it is surely no coincidence that four countries announce similar changes in a matter of weeks. More should be expected. 

FRANCE: truckers in Brittany – annoyed with social dumping and the currently suspended Ecotaxe electronic main road truck tolls – have vowed to step up their campaign again with demonstrations this weekend in Nantes and Brest. It comes as the French government is in the final discussions about Ecotaxe’s future with an announcement due early next month.

HOLLAND: Another national day of trucker’s go-slows is planned for Friday 6 June (see here also) as employer’s fail to up their (national, collective) wage offer, currently 0%. Apart from the first strike, on 7 March, the actions – actie – have not been particularly disruptive so far, apart from locally.

ITALY: Sunday 1 June marks the first day of the summer truck ban timetable, including the Monday 2 June national holiday. See this annual planner marking all ban dates from Trasporto Europa.

AUSTRIA: see this run down from national roads operator ASFINAG on weekend, public holiday and general night-time truck driving bans, plus the detail on the new fast lane truck bans.

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It's snowing again in Urengoy, a few miles from the Arctic Circle in north central Russia. This region contains ten trillion cubic metres of natural gas making it the world's second largest deposit. You might have boiled your kettle this morning using gas from here.

It’s snowing again in Urengoy, a few miles from the Arctic Circle in north central Russia. This region contains ten trillion cubic metres of natural gas making it the world’s second largest deposit. You might have boiled your kettle this morning on the proceeds. Photo via @EnglishRussia1

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Autobahn. Scary:

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