SECTORS EXCLUDED FROM THE WORKING TIME
DIRECTIVE MOBILE WORKERS IN ROAD TRANSPORT|
Commission Opinion on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's Common Position on a draft Directive concerning the organisation of working time for mobile workers performing road transport activities and for self-employed drivers.
|Legal base:||Articles 71 and 137 EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
|Deposited in Parliament:
||28 September 2001|
|Department:||Transport, Local Government and the Regions
|Basis of consideration:
||Minister's letter of 21 February 2002|
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 152-iv (2001-02), paragraph 16 ( 7 November 2001)
|To be discussed in Council:
||Date not set |
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||Cleared (decision reported on 7 November 2001)
11.1 When we cleared this document in November, we asked
the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr David Jamieson)
to let us know the outcome of the conciliation process, which
was about to start.
The Minister's letter
11.2 The Minister has now written with information about
the agreement reached by the conciliation committee on 17 December
2002. He tells us that the scope of the directive is still restricted
to all who are subject to European drivers' hours regulations.
He considers that, overall, the text agreed by the conciliation
committee is acceptable to the UK, which will support it on its
return to Council.
11.3 The Minister outlines the main points of the agreement
under the following headings.
Maximum working week
11.4 The Minister tells us that there was no disagreement
over this issue. As a result, the text retains the 48 hour average
working week (over a 4 month reference period) and the 60 hour
11.5 The conciliation text provides for a three year
transposition period. Following that, and a further four years
(by early 2009), self-employed drivers would be automatically
included. However, if the Commission's review of the industry
in 2007 finds that the self-employed should remain excluded (in
whole or in part) it would be possible for the directive to be
amended, if both the Council and the European Parliament agreed
11.6 The conciliation text contains a new definition
for the self-employed as those who have "a Community licence
or any other professional authorisation...are not tied to an employer
by an employment contract or by any other type of working hierarchical
relationship..., whose income depends on profits made" and
who have "commercial relations with several customers".
The Minister tells us that his officials believe that many UK
self-employed drivers would not currently meet this requirement.
If they do not meet it, they will be subject to the Directive
from the outset, in 2005.
11.7 The common position's ten hour maximum for night
workers and its definition of night time are retained.
11.8 All the derogations in the common position text
have been retained. It is therefore possible to derogate:
- for drivers to work longer than the 60 hour maximum week (as
long as they keep to the 48 hour average week);
- for night workers to work longer than the ten hour maximum;
- to increase the four month reference period for calculating
the 48 hour average working week to a six month period.
11.9 Member States will be able to adopt these derogations
under domestic legislation. Although the European Parliament's
proposal that derogations should be introduced via collective
bargaining was not adopted, companies will have to reach a "workplace
agreement" before they can take advantage of these derogations.
The Minister considers that this will be acceptable to both sides
of UK industry, and points out that a similar condition is included
in the original working time directive.
Definitions of "working time" and "periods of
11.10 The common position text has not been substantively
altered. Periods of availability (while accompanying a vehicle
on a ferry crossing, for example) will not count as working time.
The text also ensures that double-manning remains a practical
11.11 We thank the Minister for his full account of
the conciliation outcome.
11.12 In our last report on this measure, we quoted
him as saying: "We do have some concerns about these [less
significant] amendments, but they are far less important to the
haulage and bus industries than the EP's proposed amendments for
night workers, the scope for derogations and the definition of
His letter makes it clear that these latter amendments have not
been reflected in the conciliation text. We can therefore understand
why the Government plans to vote in favour of the measure when
it returns to Council. We note, however, that the tighter definition
of "self-employed" may exclude many UK drivers from
11.13 We have already cleared the document.
22 EC3820/85. Back
23 EC93/104. Back
152-iv (2001-02); see headnote to this paragraph. Back