Polish transport companies try to prevent themselves from drivers’ claims
Polish transport companies fear the risk of claims from their drivers of missed income from the previous years. This claim risk is real, due to the verdict of the Polish supreme court. As a result 19 companies of the Polish transport sector – which employ nearly 11,000 drivers – united themselves in an employers’ organisation that was established on August 1st 2014, the Union of Transport and Logistics in Poland (TLP). The first public effort of this lobby organisation was the delivery of a proposal to the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure recently.
In this proposal TLP asked for the intervention of the ministers of the economy and infrastructure. They demand to determine the minimum requirements for providing accommodation for driver in a business trip as stated by the Polish supreme court. In the proposal the Transport and Logistics union motivates their desire by referring to the EU law, that specifies the driver’s working conditions and technological progress in the construction and equipment of vehicles. Moreover they also ask about solving the case of claims related to overnight in the truck’s cabin for previous years.
The road hauliers do not want to pay drivers a flat rate per night in the cabin of the vehicle, if it meets specified in the new regulations technical conditions. They suggest that drivers are entitled only to a small payment for use of the toilets. The proposal delivered to the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure is a copy of the solution which has been applicable in Germany for ages. This proposal includes a payment of € 3 per day, as the payment for use of toilets instead of night allowance in the amounts stipulated by law ( i.e. € 50 for the Netherlands and € 49 for Germany). According to the request of the Polish Transport and Logistics Union, the night allowance shall apply only in case if sleeping cabin in the truck is not well equipped and the driver doesn’t agree to have a rest and sleep in a truck.
The main question is how effective this lobby will become. As in all democratic states, Poland has a clear distinction between its legislative forces and its governmental structures. Moreover the verdict was made by the Polish supreme court, being the highest hierarchy in the Polish legislative structure. As a result, appeals to this verdict simply are not possible.