MEP Adriana Ticau (Social Democratic Party/European Socialists) spoke up for an improvement in European road transport, with respect to the social conditions, at a conference held on Thursday by the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.
"The new European social model has to be reflected in the field of transport. The liberalization begun in 1990 has not been accompanied by an improvement in the social conditions of transporters. A good quality of transport services means skilled workforce.
Competition between various ways of transport must not trigger the worsening of the work conditions," Ticau told a conference on "Social conditions in transport". She is vice-president of the Committee for Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament (TRAN).
In the nineties, the European Union has started to face a shortage of skilled workforce, its migration because of low wages and a worsening in the work conditions. The pressure of low salaries firstly affects the new EU entrants. The process of deregulation, and the change in the form of ownership have influenced the work conditions, notably the driving time, the level of salaries, the organization of the employees, Ticau said.
Drivers are facing problems caused by a rise in violence, the bad condition of road infrastructure and the structure of the salary system, which differ both among the member states and among various transport systems, which makes extra work hours be paid too low.
"In order to improve the current conditions, it is necessary to simplify the legislation, to implement the regulations on the driving time, the work time and the period of rest, by increasing checks in quality and quantity, which have to be uniform and non-discriminating. It is also necessary to improve the continual training of drivers and transport managers.
The improvement in the transport infrastructure, the creation of many enough good and secure car parks will contribute to more secure transport and to decent work conditions. Especially the new EU members have to be helped and encouraged to use structural funds for improving their transport infrastructure," Ticau said.
She insisted on the period of rest for bus drivers on international routes, which trade unions and employers’ associations are discussing.
A proposal of the Commission for the Rules regarding the access to the job of road transporter, with Ticau as a rapporteur, requires many responsibilities for transport managers. They have to be offered decent and correct work conditions. Ticau said a transport manager has to be in charge of no more than 250 vehicles.
According to the European Commission, road transport services account for 1.6 percent of GDP and offer jobs to some 4.5 million citizens of the European Union. Economic and social development depends on the efficiency of road transport, among others, considering that 44 percent of goods are transported by truck and 85 percent of people choose to go by car or bus.