The European Commission has announced plans to challenge France over a new minimum wage law for the transport sector following pressure from the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Earlier this week, FTA called for urgent postponement of the new employment legislation due to come into force on 1 July which requires all foreign road workers to carry documents to prove they earn the French minimum wage.
The Commission today announced plans to send a letter of formal notice to France – the first step in legal proceedings – for infringement of the freedom to provide services and the free movement of goods. The Commission says that while it supports the principle of a minimum wage, it considers that the systematic application of the legislation to all transport operations is disproportionate.
Chris Welsh, FTA’s Director of Global and European Policy, said: “FTA is delighted that the European Commission supports its view that the application of this new employment rule needs to be reconsidered because, as stated by the Commission itself, it would restrict in a disproportionate manner the freedom to provide services and move goods in the EU.
“On behalf of UK hauliers and customers, FTA’s team based in Brussels immediately raised concerns over the application of the minimum wage legislation to the road transport. This prompt action is vital to prevent the introduction of barriers to trade that would distort competition within the EU and will help ensure the proper functioning of the international market.”
Under the new law, foreign vehicles operating on French soil will have to implement new reporting requirements to demonstrate compliance. This includes submitting a ‘posting’ certificate for each worker, which must be renewed every six months, and appointing a company representative in France to liaise with staff of the enforcement body for the duration of the transport operation and for 18 months following. With less than two weeks before the deadline, the French government has still not given full guidance to foreign operators.
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The Freight Transport Association can trace its origins back to 1889 and is recognised as the voice of the freight and logistics industry, representing the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – half the UK fleet – consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and 70 per cent of sea and air freight.
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