Trade unionists from Romania went to Strasbourg for a protest.
Over 300 carriers from Romania on Wednesday joined their counterparts from Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland for a protest in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Through their protest they managed to send back to the transport committee a series of reports from the legislative package Mobility, which were supposed to be voted upon in plenary session. Trade unionists have denounced the rule of returning home every four weeks and the ban on resting in their vehicles. According to Arpad Szanto, secretary general of Europa 2002 Employers’ Association based in Arad, western Romania, this legislative package comprises measures, which are restricting road transportation at European level.
Arpad Szanto: “This is a very good thing to happen, the fact that we have managed to achieve this result. This is something extraordinary for the moral of Romania’s transport industry, namely that this package wasn’t debated upon or got voted. Those in the West showed exemplary mobilization; they were waiting for the voting to take place and had the voting procedures started, this road-transport package would probably have passed. We must recall the pressure we have exerted upon the decision-making process and upon the MEPs themselves and I must say that this postponement represents an extraordinary victory because the TRANS Committee will be faced with a mission impossible, namely to debate upon 16 hundred amendments and submit them for Parliament approval.”
Also attending the meeting, the Romanian Social-Democratic MEP Dan Nica said countries in Western Europe are trying to knock out competition in Eastern Europe to maximize their profits.
Dan Nica: “They want the Romanian carriers out of the game, more people laid off so that only those in Western Europe may benefit from the market economy. Let us leave aside any populist discourses or slogans about one thing or another because the truth is only one: you want us out of the transport market. You don’t like that either but you also don’t want to pay Romanian haulers as much as their Western counterparts. And that has brought people here and that’s why we are here together with them. “
Liberal MEP Marian-Jean Marinescu has explained that MEPs from East-European countries have submitted hundreds of amendments to block the vote.
Marian-Jean Marinescu: "The current form proposed for voting isn’t the most convenient for haulers, not only Romanians but also those in the EU’s border countries. We have made use of the procedure rules and have submitted a large number of amendments so that we may block this vote. We are going to promote the amendments complying with the claims of the Romanian carriers.”
The protest was staged by the European Transport Workers’ Federation that has 41 affiliate countries.