Weeks, even months, away from home, difficult working conditions and very long distances. All these reasons explain the shortage of truck drivers in Europe.
Many believe that the European rules on wages or working hours are flouted. Some even consider their profession to be more “exploitative.”Drivers find themselves isolated for months and months, trapped in their truck“, explains Edwin Atema of the Dutch union FNV.
The situation is even more glaring in the United Kingdom. With Brexit, the country has turned its back on the free movement of workers. This situation disrupts the supply of supermarkets and gas stations. “UK government failed to take action to deal with labor market problems caused by Brexit“, specifies David Henig of the European Center for International Economic Policy. And when companies raised this issue”the government replied that it was an alarmist projection, that everything would be fine and that it was not a problem“, he adds.
Setting up subsidiaries in countries with low wages, mainly in Eastern Europe or outside the EU, has become a form of standard in order to be able to reduce costs. But the drivers have to work in the west of the continent with low incomes and unsuitable for the countries of destination. “Drivers have to work in the Netherlands, Europe or anywhere but on the basis of a pay grid from their own home country, instead of applying Dutch or German law and adjusting wages“, sums up Ron Van Lingen, former owner of a road transport company.
These problems are not new and have been mentioned for several years. The unions call on member states to review working conditions and ensure that the law is respected in order to resolve these difficulties.