Long distance drivers win real rest breaks as MEPs back Mobility Package

Lorry, bus and coach drivers will benefit from real rest breaks and more time at home under new rules adopted by the European Parliament today following a long-running campaign by trade unions.

MEPs have supported major reforms of the road transport sector known as the Mobility Package which will: 

  • Give drivers the right to return home once every three weeks and spend weekly rest breaks in proper accommodation
  • Oblige vehicles to return to the country of company establishment every 8 weeks, effectively preventing letterbox companies circumventing wage and social security obligations
  • Ensure all drivers receive fair pay by clearer rules on posting of drivers and more effective monitoring of cross-border operations
  • Improve driver and passenger safety by enforcing limits on driving time by bringing forward the introduction of smart tachographs by 10 years

More than 4 million people are employed as heavy truck and bus drivers in the EU. In 2018, there were 3,310 people killed in collisions with heavy goods vehicles.

The changes are the result of a three-year campaign led by the European Transport Federation.

Reacting to the vote, ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said:

“Long queues of parked lorries, where drivers are forced to eat and sleep in unhygienic conditions, have been a familiar site on Europe’s roads.

“Today’s vote will prevent companies forcing drivers to spend months on end away from home, depriving them of their family and social life, while cheating them out of decent pay and social security contributions.
“This major victory for transport trade unions will also benefit passenger and other road users by ensuring long distance drivers can no longer be forced to work dangerously long hours.”

Reaction from the European Transport Federation: https://www.etf-europe.org/etf-welcomes-meps-green-light-for-mobility-package/

European Parliament press release on the result on the vote: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200706IPR82714/parliament-adopts-major-reform-of-road-transport-sector

Photo credit: Mark Eslick/Creative Commons