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A few weeks back, we published a blog post detailing a decision by France to require documentation of minimum wage earnings among HGV drivers. In it, we explained how the rules apply to the transport and haulage industries here in the UK. Anyone who read the post should now understand what kind of impact it will have on UK operators that do not maintain offices in France. But all of that may be a moot point now that Brussels has inserted itself into the debate.

News reports say the European Commission has decided to take action against France and Germany (Germany has instituted similar regulations) to stop them from enforcing their minimum-wage restrictions unilaterally. The Commission contends that any such unilateral enforcement would be detrimental to both the free movement of goods across Europe and the long-recognised freedom of companies to provide services as they see fit.

For purposes of refreshing your memory, the French legislation requires that all HGV and LGV drivers moving through their country, in any capacity, earn pay at least equal to France’s minimum wage. Drivers have to carry documents with them proving what they earn while operators have to certify what they pay their drivers by way of regular filings. Operators without French offices are required to contract with a third-party intermediary to handle the official filings for them.

Strong Industry Objections

As you might guess, there have been strong industry objections against both the French and German actions. Just the certification requirement alone would add a substantial financial burden on UK companies who run vehicles across the European continent.

Matters have been made worse by the fact that the French government has not been forthcoming with the necessary information operators need to have in order to guarantee compliance. With just two weeks to go before the July 1 (2016) deadline, organisations such as the Freight Transport Association were begging the French government for clarification. That did not go unnoticed by the European Commission

Germany’s rules were implemented back on January 1, 2015, to the same objections from foreign operators. And while operators have found a way to comply, Brussels has decided that any action taken against France should also apply to Germany as well.

France and Germany now have two months to respond to the letter of formal notice sent by the European Commission. How they will respond remains anyone’s guess. But, hopefully, they will make the necessary changes that will allow the free movement of HGV and PCV vehicles within their borders in a way that does not subject operators to undue burden.

While they work to figure that out, the HGV Training Centre will continue to work hard to provide industry-leading training to UK drivers. We offer complete training for all classes of commercial vehicles along with additional training for forklifts, horseboxes, trailers and caravans, and Driver CPC compliance. We can train you regardless of your need, in a timely manner and at a price you can afford.


  1. Handy Shipping Guide – http://www.handyshippingguide.com/shipping-news/new-road-haulage-transport-sanctions-generate-european-commission-legal-action_7247


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