Road Hauliers Demand Adjustment of French and German Regulations

(Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 31 (TASR) – Ten European road haulier associations, including Slovakia’s CESMAD, protested against new regulations in a planned French and already valid German law on the minimum wage on Tuesday, TASR learnt on the same day.

As part of the protest CESMAD president Pavol Jancovic officially handed over a protest letter at the French Embassy in Slovakia and at the Representative Office of the European Commission in Slovakia.

“We came due to the law on the minimum wage that is set to come into force in France as of July 1. We find it to be too bureaucratic and difficult to put into practice. And we also think that it’s certainly not in line with European law or European principles,” said Jancovic.

Jancovic explained that France, following the German example, is demanding that foreign drivers who transport goods into or out of the country should be paid at least the French minimum wage for the time spent there. The French minimum wage is currently more than €9 per hour.

An even bigger issue seems to be the numerous administrative requirements connected with the new regulations, such as the submission of many documents and the hiring of a permanent company representative in France to handle all the transport company’s files, contracts and payroll slips.

“At the same time we think that the bill fundamentally violates EU principles, namely the free movement of goods, services and people,” added Jancovic.

The CESMAD president couldn’t say exactly how the new French legislation will increase carriers’ costs. “Regarding salaries, these might increase by hundreds, even thousands of euros, but we also have to think about unknown parameters connected with a great deal of bureaucratic steps,” said Jancovic.

According to the CESMAD president, Slovak carriers already have ‘bad experiences’ with similar regulations established in Germany. “We constantly have to report every single driver who transports goods in Germany. We have to submit a terrible amount of documents and information to German offices on salaries and other, in my opinion, discrete data,” said Jankovic, adding that this might well constitute a violation of the Slovak law on personal data protection.

Via the new law France wants to combat social dumping, but according to Jancovic, this law is in reality a complete denial of the fundamental principles of the EU’s open market.

A total of ten road haulier associations from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain have prepared two open letters for French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In the letters the associations demand that the law should be adjusted so that it won’t include foreign transport companies.