Update: Romanian transporters could protest during president Macron’s Bucharest visit

The National Union of Romanian Road Transporters (UNTRR), a local union group, said it asked the Bucharest City Hall to approve a request to organize a protest on Thursday, August 24, during the French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the country, News.ro reported.

Update: The local authorities rejected the UNTRR protest request, according to Capital.ro.

Local transporters are unhappy with measures imposing a pay for Romanian drivers of almost EUR 10 per hour and a ban on regular, weekly rest in the vehicle’s cabin for the time spent on France’s territory.

“France is asking drivers to sleep at a hotel even though it doesn’t have enough parking facilities that also offer accommodation and are safe for foreign drivers and the goods they transport. We want to mention again the numerous attacks against Romanian, Polish and Eastern European transporters that happened in French parking lots in the past year,” the UNTRR said in a press release.

The union also argued that the measures are protectionist and restrict the access of Eastern European companies to the French and European markets.

The measures come as France is supporting a revision of the posted workers directive, a key topic on the French president’s agenda during his tour in Austria, Romania and Bulgaria.

The 1996 posted workers directive allows employees of European companies to work in another EU country while paying benefits and taxes in their own country. In higher-wage countries the measure is seen as allowing unfair competition for local companies over lower labor costs. The posted workers are paid salaries at the levels of their own countries.

France proposed that the contracts of posted workers last one year in their destination country. Throughout the duration of their contract, the workers continue to pay taxes and contributions in their home country.

France has the EU’s second-highest rate of posted workers from other member states. Their number rose by 10.7% between 2010 and 2015, Euractiv.com reported. President Macron has made the revision of the posted workers directive a priority, and it has been one of his electoral campaign promises. His Central and Eastern Europe visit, where he will also meet the Czech and Slovak prime ministers, is partly aimed at finding common ground on the issue.

The labor ministers in the EU are meeting for new discussions on the posted worker directive in October.

Truck drivers have been the subject of a proposal, announced at the end of May. According to the new proposal, truck drivers can travel outside their EU member state and be paid according to the rules of their home country for up to three days. After that, they would follow the rules of the country where they deliver the goods, Euractiv.com reported.

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