Reference number: PR 2010 35
FSB News Release
PR 2010 35
Issue date: Thursday 1 July 2010
FSB leads call to scrap the extension of rules on working time to self-employed lorry drivers
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), supported by 100 influential business leaders and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), has called on the European Commission to stand firm in its proposal not to include self-employed lorry drivers within European rules on working time.
In June, the European Parliament voted by a small majority, in favour of the inclusion of self-employed lorry drivers within the scope of the 2002 Directive on the organisation of the working time of lorry and bus drivers.
This means that drivers will now be limited to working a total of 48 hours per week including maintenance, loading and administrative work. Previously, self-employed drivers could spend up to 56 hours per week driving so long as they drove no more than 90 hours over a two week period.
The European Commission proposal, aimed to exclude self-employed lorry drivers from this directive which rigorously restricts working hours. By voting for inclusion, the European Parliament has set a dangerous precedent by interfering in the manner in which the self-employed organise their working time.
The group, led by the FSB, will now write to the European Commission to ask that the issue is returned in an amended form to the European Parliament, and to ask MEPs to think again.
John Walker, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said:
"The fact that 100 business leaders and MEPs from across the EU have come together to back the FSB''s campaign speaks volumes about the strength of feeling on this subject.
"The vote in June was the last thing wanted by a road haulage industry that is already suffering from over regulation, high fuel prices and the recession. It is recognised that the majority of today''s successful road haulage businesses set up as sole traders and these rules will endanger the future formation of similar businesses.
"We therefore urge the European Commission to stand firm and return this issue in an amended form to the European Parliament."
Notes to Editors
1. The FSB is the UK''s leading business organisation with over 213,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk
2. This is a national release; additional information may be available on a regional basis. For regional FSB contacts please go to www.fsb.org.uk/regions
3. MEPs from 17 Member States support the campaign (United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Belgium, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic)
• MEPs are cross party from the following European Parliament groupings:
• European Peoples Party (the largest group in the European Parliament)
• Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
• European Conservatives and Reformists
• Europe of Freedom and Democracy
• 35 UK MEPs support the campaign – over 50 per cent of all UK MEPs
• Support also from the leaders of the main UK organisations representing SMEs and the self employed: Federation of Small Businesses, British Chamber of Commerce, Forum of Private Business, and the Professional Contractors Group
• Prominent MEPs include:
• Fiona Hall MEP (United Kingdom), Leader of the UK Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament
• Timothy Kirkhope MEP (United Kingdom), Leader of the UK Conservatives in the European Parliament and Deputy Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group
• Bendt Bendtsen MEP (Denmark), President of the SME Circle of the EPP Group (the EPP is the largest grouping of MEPs in the European Parliament)
• Malcolm Harbour MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament''s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee
• Dr. Wolf Klinz MEP (Germany), Chairman of the European Parliament''s Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis
4. A full list of supporters can be obtained from email@example.com
Stephen Alambritis: 020 7592 8112/ 07788 422155
Eric Beech: 020 7592 8128/ 07917 628998 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Lee: 020 7592 8113/ 07595 067068 email@example.com