The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called for urgent postponement of a new employment law in France which means all foreign road workers visiting the country have to carry documents to prove they earn the French minimum wage.
From 1 July, foreign vehicles operating on French soil will have to implement new reporting requirements to demonstrate compliance – and with just 15 days before the deadline, the situation for operators remains woefully unclear. The French government has still not given full guidance to foreign operators, promised in a ‘frequently asked questions’ document.
FTA is calling for a postponement of the application of the new provisions until more clarity is made. Moreover, FTA urges the European Commission to support its request for a postponement and also to speed up publication of the Commission’s own investigation into the legal basis of these provisions on the Single Market.
Chris Yarsley, FTA’s EU Affairs Manager, said: “It is unacceptable that the French government has not given industry full information and guidance on these new measures, only days before they come into force. The sector must be given more time to adapt business practices before any enforcement takes place.”
The new law requires the transport company operating in France to submit a ‘posting’ certificate for each worker, which must be renewed every six months. The employer of this mobile worker must also appoint a company representative in France, responsible for liaising with staff of the enforcement body for the duration of the transport operation plus 18 months.
This requirement will be particularly problematic for companies that do not have an office or branch in France. Drivers must keep in their vehicle a copy of their employment contract and the certificate of posting – any breach of the rules will lead to a fine.
Mr Yarsley added: “The requirement to keep paper documents on board the vehicle is a step backwards and will lead to documents getting lost as drivers are moved around. And who are these ‘representatives’ that are supposed to hold private information on the drivers working on a UK contract? We must be given more information by the authorities.”
FTA is working with other trade associations and industry sectors to increase pressure on the French authorities to hold back any enforcement of these new rules until the situation is much clearer.
Notes for editors
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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.