EU vote ‘threat’ to hauliers

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Etbusiness Daily - By JOHN KRALEVICH john.kralevich@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

THE liveli­hoods of lo­cal self­em­ployed hauliers are in the fir­ing line as MEPs vote to­day (June 16) in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment on the work­ing time di­rec­tive.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses (FSB) is concerned that the politi­cians are about to set a dan­ger­ous prece­dent by reg­u­lat­ing the work­ing time of self-em­ployed heavy goods ve­hi­cle driv­ers, which could threaten en­trepreneur­ship across Europe. MEPs are set to vote on re­strict­ing the work­ing hours of in­de­pen­dent hauliers across Europe to 48 hours per week.

Chris Spies, Peter­bor­ough branch chair­man at the FSB, said: “Ad­vo­cates of the in­clu­sion cite road safety as the main rea­son.

“How­ever, there are al­ready two strong mea­sures to guar­an­tee road safety: the ta­cho­graph and the vi­tal need for the self-em­ployed to keep their op­er­at­ing li­cence.

“Rest and driv­ing times are mon­i­tored through the ve­hi­cle’s ta­cho­graph and within those bound­aries, the free­dom to man­age your own time as a self-em­ployed per­son is sac- ro­sanct and must not be sub­jected in­ter­fer­ence.”

A fac­tion of MEPs be­lieve that reg­u­la­tion will im­prove safety and while the FSB does not ques­tion the im­por­tance of im­prov­ing road safety, it be­lieves that through ig­nor­ing ex­ist­ing so­lu­tions like the ta­cho­graph and hauliers com­pli­ance with the strict rules of their op­er­at­ing li­cences, that the changes will threaten en­trepreneur­ship through­out the Euro­pean Union.

John Bridge, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Peter­bor­ough Cham­ber of Com­merce, says that fur­ther bu­reau­cracy is “the last thing” that’s needed.

He said: “It is non-sen­si­cal to ex- pect the one-man op­er­a­tor to try to keep fur­ther records while run­ning his busi­ness.”

The FSB is also concerned that this could set a dan­ger­ous prece­dent for the work­ing hours of self-em­ployed peo­ple across all busi­ness sec­tors and will di­rectly con­tra­dict ef­forts made at EU level to pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship, eco­nomic growth and job cre­ation.

work­ing time di­rec­tive: Chris Spies says there are al­ready two strong mea­sures to guar­an­tee

hauliers’ road safety.

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