On Thursday the European Parliament (EP) approved new rules which Polish hauliers have said could adversely affect their businesses. The new rules, which would affect Poland most, were opposed by Polish MEPs.
The EP will now start negotiations on the rules that will govern for international freight services with countries that are European Union member states. The main opposition to the new rules has come from Poland whose road haulage sector has boomed in recent years, with largest fleet of trucks used for road haulage in the EU according to Poland’s IAR news agency.
As Poland has taken advantage of its lower cost base to dominate the sector, France and Germany have long complained that their hauliers are being undercut by the central and eastern European rivals in providing freight services. Polish transport companies fear that they will be required to pay employees more when they work abroad, rules that would prove bureaucratic make them less competitive.
The main change to be introduced as a result of the Mobility Package is that drivers will be treated as delegated workers from the very day of travel. This means that their salary will dependent on the country in which they are currently travelling and not the country in which the company that hired them is based, as at present
Polish MEPs have protested about the procedure adopted by the EP which added more than 1,000 amendments to the Mobility Package. Vice President of the EP Bogusław Liberadzi (Civic Platform) claims that MEPs “had no idea what they were voting over and did not want to know. They were determined to force through their solutions at any cost.”
The voting appears not to have followed normal procedures. First the package was turned down four times in the EP. Secondly, two out of three reports which were voted on had been previously rejected by the Transport Committee and, according to EP regulations, should not have appeared at the plenary session. Thirdly, the amendments were sorted by names and not content, allowing amendments which contradicted each other to appear. The measure was forced through because of serious pressure from western European member states which wanted to use the Mobility Package as proof of a social Europe.