It is going to be very interesting of today. A new law in France applies of 1 July for all international road goods transport companies driving in France. The French government has stated that all international lorry drivers must carry valid documents that they and their employer are entitled to transport goods in France, that they receive a minimum wage of 9.67 EUR per hour and that they have a French representative or agent. The legislation has been made to avoid social dumping in the road goods transport industry where many East European drivers and companies are paid a lot less. France is not the first country to settle on a minimum wage for foreign employees no matter if these are based in the country or not, Germany was the first country introducing a minimum wage of 8.50 EUR. The EU is looking into the matter, but the process will not be clarified before tomorrow, so all foreign lorry drivers driving for foreign companies should inform themselves on the matter as quickly as possible and be prepared. The international companies and lorry driver who do not have all required paperwork ready, could face fines up to half a million EUR. Transport organisations and associations from all over Europe are trying to sort out what exactly the French law requires as questions have risen. For example it is not clear if a minimum wage is calculated with or without food expenses, expenses which are often a large part of a wage. Until 1 July which is today, the new French law and the requirements have still not been sorted out. However, the first service companies, e.g. VIALTIS, have already been registered and approved a French agent for the authorities, so perhaps they have can force the French authorities to clarify the questions in relation to the law quickly.
It is the second time that France is stirring up the international transport industry with unclear regulations. Earlier this year in May, double manning in lorries in regards to drivers’ hours was on the agenda. The normal practice was that a double manned lorry did not need to pause for 45 minutes after four and a half hours driving. The drivers were allowed to simply switch positions after four and a half hours, and continue onwards, as, up until now, the entire EU has considered the driver in the passenger seat to be on break.
TimoCom users, though, reported that according to French authorities stated, the lorry itself must be off the road for 45 minutes before continuing the drive – regardless of whether there is a second driver or not. Time spent in the passenger seat was no longer considered a break in France.
The end of this was an EU intervention settling that the EU regulations must be followed, also by France. If France are to change the regulations and follow the EU claim is still not official cleared.