The EESC regrets that the notion of social dumping while extensively used is not defined. The EESC considers as social dumping practices that endeavour to circumvent or are in breach of social or market access regulations (letterbox companies) in order to gain competitive advantages.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's plans:
to simplify and clarify EU regulations on access to the occupation of road transport operator and on access to the international road haulage market, particularly regarding cabotage in order to facilitate implementation;
to strengthen the establishment criteria to prevent abusive use of ''letterbox'' companies;
for a labour mobility package to facilitate the free movement of workers and to improve the Member States' capacity to fight social dumping, fraud and abuse regarding the posting of workers and access to welfare benefits.
The EESC reiterates its support for the Commission proposal for a European platform to enhance cooperation in the prevention and deterrence of undeclared work and asks the Council and the European Parliament to adopt this proposal rapidly.
The EESC believes that there is an urgent need for EU-level action to avoid the risk of fragmentation of the internal market in road transport through unilateral national measures to combat social dumping. Successful EU action may create favourable conditions for further market opening.
The EESC asks the Commission and Member States, who are mainly responsible for the enforcement of both road transport and social legislation to prioritise the following:
ensuring full cooperation between labour and road transport surveillance authorities in the EU Member States;
consolidating the data of the national electronic registers for road transport undertakings (see Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009, Article 16) with social and labour records of professional drivers to improve cross-border enforcement and counteract abuse or fraud;
urgently implement the interconnection of the national registers through the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings (ERRU), which should have been in place in December 2012, to improve cross-border enforcement and cooperation between Member States; using the Internal Market Information System (IMI) could be considered in this context;
fully enforcing in the road transport sector the mandatory minima imposed through Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 (Rome I Regulation), and Directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers and Directive 2014/67/EU on the enforcement of that Directive. The EESC points to the Commission's intention to consider Directive 96/71/EC and 2014/67/EU to find out if guidance or other measures are needed to facilitate efficient and legally certain implementation in the road transport sector.
The EESC also points out that when proposing simplification of market access provisions, including cabotage, the Commission might consider the option of aligning the rules on road freight transport with those applicable to temporary provision of services in general, bearing in mind the specific character of the transport sector. Simplification of market access rules would provide a basis for more coherent enforcement and an enhanced culture of compliance which would limit the possibilities for social dumping. Simplification should be closely linked to vigorous enforcement of decided measures to avoid social dumping.