Protest of transport workers

Transport workers hold the protest against social dumping in front of EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium

The EU is proposing to relax cabotage rules to allow HGVs on foreign runs to make unlimited deliveries and drop offs over five days rather than the existing limit of three internal movements in a member state over seven days.

The proposal is contained in the EU’s mobility package, announced last week.

Another key proposal is for drivers working out of their home countries for more than three days to be paid the local minimum wage to prevent so-called “social dumping” by operators based in low-wage countries such as Poland and Romania.

This saw protests outside the EU’s headquarters in April (pictured, source Press Association).

Other proposed changes include a ban on drivers taking their weekly 48-hour rest in their cabs, the removal of the need for transport companies to keep a representative in countries through which their drivers are travelling, and a cut in the level of evidence needed to prove drivers are being paid the local minimum wage.

No reference was made to France’s plans to charge €40 (£35) to foreign drivers travelling through France, which is being challenged under existing EU legislation.

FTA head of licensing policy James Firth raised concerns about the cabotage proposals.

“Five days is a working week. This proposal allows total freedom of movement and is an extreme relaxation of current rules and a liberalisation for which the UK freight industry is not prepared, particularly considering the existing disparity in fuel duty,” he said.