The Driver-Guides Association is the national professional association of private blue badge tourist guides who undertake tours in their own cars
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Communication from the Commission

Concerning the organisation of working time for mobile workers performing road transport activities and for self-employed drivers.

This document is 110 pages long.
The complete document can be downloaded from here: (This is an Adobe Acrobat file and takes a couple of minutes to download)
The EU White paper can be found here (html file)

These are some selected quotes
The provision of common standards for working time in road transport has become increasingly important given the predominance of this mode within the Community, the liberalisation of market access and the need to ensure that there is no distortion of competition between operators. Establishing minimum norms for all transport activities will prevent a potential disintegration of the road transport industry, will improve road safety and enhance working conditions for mobile workers and the self-employed.

The proposal aims to create a level playing field for businesses by providing a common minimum set of working time requirements for transport activities, thus reducing any distortion of competition.

The Commission has, since the adoption of that Directive, maintained the position that workers in these sectors should benefit from minimum standards as regards to working time, in order to protect their own health and safety as well as the safety of others. There have been, for example, repeated reminders of the dangers to health and safety, as well as to fair competition in the internal market, of the continued failure to deal with the regulation of working time in the transport sector.

. . . placing a limit on activities other than driving undertaken by the self-employed provides a means of ensuring that excessive fatigue does not impair the person's driving. It may therefore enhance the quality of service delivered and ensure continued employment.

The issue of subsidiarity has been specifically addressed by the European Court of Justice in relation to the Working Time Directive. In its Judgment in the application by the United Kingdom for annulment of the Working Time Directive, the Court notes that "once the Council has found that it is necessary to improve the existing level of protection as regards the health and safety of workers and to harmonise the conditions in this area while maintaining the improvements made, achievement of that objective through the imposition of minimum requirements necessarily presupposes Community-wide action".

(a) What will be the impact on Employment
The employment effects will depend on the way any necessary changes are introduced. Prima facie there could be positive employment effects if additional workers are recruited to take account of reductions in overtime and increases in annual leave.

There are a number of benefits that the employer may obtain as a consequence of complying with the new rules that will reduce the gross cost of any impact. These are:
(1) cost reductions resulting from gains in reductions in work interruptions because of fewer accidents and less absenteeism due to ill health;
(2) productivity gains from individual employees because of better health and less fatigue;
(3) productivity gains for businesses from the re-organisation of working time negotiated simultaneously with the new regulations;
(4) savings in overtime premia on reductions in the working time of those currently working more than the maximum hours in the new regulations.

d) What will the Directive cost?
The main costs arise from the additional recruitment costs arising from implementation of the limit on the working week and from the annual leave provisions. The main benefits arise from reductions in overtime premia, from higher individual productivity and from reductions in sick leave and in the number of accidents at work. . . . the net impact (costs minus benefits) is in the range from a net benefit of 1 % to a net cost of 1 % of the average annual earnings of the workers concerned.

Pattern of work
Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that an employer who intends to organize work according to a certain pattern takes account of the general principle of adapting work to the worker, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work-rate, depending on the type of activity, and of safety and health requirements, especially as regards breaks during working time.

2. Derogations may be adopted by means of laws, regulations or administrative provisions or by means of collective agreements or agreements between the two sides of industry provided that the workers concerned are afforded equivalent periods of compensatory rest or that, in exceptional cases in which it is not possible, for objective reasons, to grant such equivalent periods of compensatory rest, the workers concerned are afforded appropriate protection:
(c) in the case of activities involving the need for continuity of service or production, particularly:
(ii) workers directly concerned with the provision of transport services and other dock or airport workers;
(d) where there is a foreseeable surge of activity, particularly in:
(i) agriculture;
(ii) tourism;

Member States may allow derogations from Article 3 provided that the maximum average weekly working time is reduced as follows:
- to 39 hours on average, over a reference period of up to 9 months; and
- to 35 hours on average, over a reference period of up to 12 months.

The absence of a comprehensive social framework for road transport has caused severe disruption to this sector in recent years and has led to major unforeseen and unquantifiable costs, including bankruptcy, not only for the road transport sector but also for a considerable number of businesses dependent on road transport for distribution. This proposal seeks to introduce measures which will rectify this deficit.

There are currently about 45,000 fatalities per year in the EU, and on average 18 % of fatal accidents (which may result in more than one fatality) involve trucks or coaches. Thus there is a significant cost to society. The correlation between accidents and fatigue caused by excessive working hours and night time working within road transport has been highlighted in a recent study for the Commission which builds on previous generally recognised work.

The Driver-Guides Association is the National Professional Association for Blue Badge Driver-Guides
With members in London and throughout the United Kingdom

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