Impact of the working time directive on collective bargaining in the road transport sector — Norway

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 19 December 2007



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In Norway the directive was implemented by Regulation of 10 June 2005 about working time for drivers and others within the field of road transport. The regulation came into force 1 July 2005, and is pursuant to the Act regarding Workers Protection and Working Environment (Arbeidsmiljøloven)

1. Details of the road transport sector in your country

Please provide some basic details about the road transport sector in your country. Information should include:

  • the structure of the mobile workforce in the sector, including size, type of employee, proportion of self-employed workers (see also below)
  • the types of employers operating in the sector

Passenger (road) transport is conducted by private companies, mostly established after the deregulation of the bus sector in the 1990s and onwards (including increased tendering as well as organising publicly owned transport companies outside the public administrative apparatus). The majority of these are medium or large sized companies, and undertake goods transport as well as passenger transport. However, self employed or smaller companies undertake most of the goods transport. This includes both lorry drivers and long haul drivers. Moreover, in some sectors wholesale companies undertake their own transport of goods between warehouses and outlets. Further, a small number of more specialised companies exist, like those providing transport services within the oil industry.

The tour coach sector consists of mainly small companies. Due to seasonal variations this sector employs a large number of temporary employees during the summer months.

Table 1 lists the number of companies, employed persons (total) and dependent employees in different sub-sectors of the road transport sector. Self-employment is found among taxi operator (60.220) and in freight transport by road (60.240), and to a certain degree in NACE 60.230 (other land passenger transport which among others include tour couches). Among taxi operators the number of self-employed makes up an estimated 40 percent and in NACE 60.240 the number of self-employed is 25 percent.

50 percent of the employees are working in companies with less than 10 employees (table 2). For the whole economy (public administration excluded) the figure is 31 percent.

Table 1: Number of establishements, employed persons and dependent employees. 2004.
  Companies Employed persons total Dependent employees
60.211 Scheduled motor bus transport 314 14422 14337
60.212 Tramway and suburban transport 4 1607 1607
60.213 Cableway transport 9 51 49
60.220 Taxi operation 6176 14779 8921
60.230 Other land passenger transport 422 1588 1340
60.240 Freight transport by road 10000 26809 19995

Statistics Norway, Transport Statistics.

Table 2: Number of establishements and employed persons by size-group. 2004. NACE 60
  Absolute figures Percent
  Companies Employed persons Companies Employed persons
0-1 employed 9875 8378 58,3 14,1
2-4 employed 4812 12729 28,4 21,5
5-9 employed 1422 9002 8,4 15,2
10-19 employed 475 6272 2,8 10,6
20-49 employed 222 6469 1,3 10,9
50-249 employed 105 9858 0,6 16,6
250 employed 14 6548 0,1 11,1
Total 16925 59256 100 100

Statistics Norway, Transport Statistics.

The sector (nace 60) is maledominated. Approximatly 10 percent of the employed persons are women.

2. Collective bargaining in the road transport sector

Please provide information on collective bargaining in your sector, including:

  • Details of the social partners in this sector – trade unions and employer bodies, name, field of intervention (all the sector/specific part of the sector// all the workers in the sector/ part of them)

Trade unions

The Norwegian Transport Workers Union (Norsk Transportarbeiderforbund, NTF) is by far the largest trade union in this sector with around 18.500 members (it includes members in other parts of the transport sector). NTF is affiliated to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO). Additionally, two trade unions under the Confederation of Vocational Unions (Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund, YS) organise workers within this sector, namely Parat and ( Yrkestrafikkforbundet, YTF). The latter is in direct competition with the NTF over bus-drivers, and the two unions more or less organise 50/50 within private bus-transport. Bus-drivers in companies with public ownership (deregulated companies), are still often organised in ( Norsk Jernbaneforbund) or Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE, Fagforbundet).

Union density within road transport (railways excluded) is estimated to 40-50 percent. Union density among bus-drivers is high (and at its highest among employees in deregulated public companies), while union density in other parts of the transport sector (taxis, freight transport) is low.

Employer organisations

On the employer-side, several organisations exist.The Federation of Norwegian Transport Companies (Transportbedriftenes Landsforening, TL), which is affiliated to the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon, NHO), organises173 companies within the road transport sector. This includes mostly passenger transport, but some goods transport companies as well. Some passenger transport companies are members of the employer organisations NAVO. This includes mostly deregulated state-owned companies, among others a road transportcompany owned by the Norwegian State Railways (Nettbuss). A few bus-transport companies are also members of The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS)).

Most of the organised goods transport companies are members of (Logistikk- og Transportindustriens Landsforening, LTL). LTL is also a part of Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. Wholesale companies that undertake their own transport of goods to their outlets are organised in Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises (Handels- og servicenæringens Hovedorganisasjon, HSH). The Norwegian Haulier’s Association (Norsk Lastebileier Forbund) organises mainly small companies that undertake goods transport (4000 members with 9000 vehicles). Taxi-owners are organised in the Norwegian Taxiowners Association (Norges Taxiforbund). All the relevant employer organisations are combined employer and industry organisations.

There are no estimates available on employer organisation density, but one might assume that a majority among the larger companies within the sector will be affiliated to an employer organisation. The large number of small companies (included self-employed persons without employees) means that we assume that the employer organisation density rate is among the lower in the Norwegian labour market. However, small companies and self-employed may often be members in the relevant employer organisation (but only participate in the business and industry actvities of the combined organisations).

  • Whether there are collective agreements.

If so, could you specify whether it is a sectoral one or whether there are agreements that are signed in significant companies? what proportion of the sector do they cover?

There are several national sector collective agreements as well as some agreements signed between trade unions (e.g. NTF) and individual companies.

Within collective bus-transport several sector level agreements exist, and the coverage rate is high. These are the agreements for the private sector (NHO), the NAVO-agreement and the KS agreement. These are in the process of being harmonised; at least when it comes to pay rates (NO05019I). However, within the tour coach sector there are hardly any collective agreements or trade union members to be found (though an agreement for this sector also exists). In Norway a collective agreement has to be claimed at company level, and making such agreements generally applicable is not common, and has so far not been done within the transport sector.

The collective agreement coverage rate is low among companies within the Norwegian Haulier’s Association as well as companies outside of TL that conducts passenger or goods transport.

For the larger transport companies (whole-sale as well as cargo goods) collective agreements will normally be the rule.

If there are agreements, how often are they renewed. What are the subjects covered: definition of working time

  • working hours
  • breaks
  • rest periods
  • controls and checks on drivers

The different agreements within the transport sector are renewed each second year, but pay levels are negotiated every year. Next revision of the agreements will take place in 2008.

Collective agreements cover issues regarding working time. However, defining working time in the collective agreement is not common. One exception is coach bus drivers that are bound by the agreement between TL and NTF, in which it is stated that the working time starts and stops at the garage or bus stop where the driver should meet. A more detailed definition of working time is not given. Weekly and daily working time is usually stated in the agreements, as this is shorter than what is laid down by the Act relating to Workers Protection and Working Environment (Arbeidsmiljøloven, AML) Furthermore, the agreements establishes the conditions that apply to individual or company agreements when calculating average working hours. The agreements seldom state the length of breaks, but make a reference to applicable legal provisions. Procedures as how to proceed when implementing control systems can be found in the basic agreement that is renewed every four year. However, detailed provisions regarding how control should be executed are not found in the national, sector agreements, but are (if they exist) based on agreements between the company level social partners.

3. Implementation of the Directive 2002/15/EC in your country

Has your country implemented this Directive?

a) If so, please give details of the implementing legislation or collective agreement, and when it came into force. If not, please give details of any debate about implementation, plus any likely implementation date.

The directive was implemented by Regulation of 10 June 2005 about working time for drivers and others within the field of road transport. The regulation came into force 1 July 2005, and is pursuant to the Act regarding Workers Protection and Working Environment (Arbeidsmiljøloven, AML)

b) If your country has implemented the Directive, has implementation been effected by means of specific terms in collective agreements or brought new topics onto the collective bargaining agenda in areas such as health and safety, the organisation of working time,

No. The new regulation has had most impact in companies not bound by a collective agreement. Collective agreements did already have similar provisions. There was no need to make alterations to the agreements, and the regulation has not placed new topics onto the collective bargaining agenda. Implementation of the directive has had greater consequences for the employers than for the employees, at least those bound by collective agreements. Within the long haul sector the wages stated in collective agreements are independent of the amount of hours actually worked by the employee. Regulations reducing the length of the working day have therefore no consequence when it comes to wages paid. Employer organisations as LTL have long criticized the Norwegian implementation of the directive. In their opinion the Norwegian regulation leads to unfair competition as it lays down less flexible rules than the directive, and also than the Norwegian Act relating to Workers Protection and Working Environment. Problems of competition already exist due to relatively high wages in Norway, and stricter regulations can, in the opinion of LTL, make Norwegian carriers even less competitive compared to other EEA-carriers.

c) The Directive allows for derogations to be made from the provisions on maximum working time and night work, for objective or technical reasons or reasons concerning the organisation of work, through “collective agreements, agreements between the social partners, or by laws, regulations or administrative provisions, provided there is consultation of the representatives of the employers and workers concerned and efforts are made to encourage all relevant forms of social dialogue”.

Maximum working time

Are there any laws or collective agreements in place that allow derogations from the maximum working week of 48 hours, extendable to 60 hours if the average of 48 hours a week is not exceeded over four months? If so, please give details and, if available, statistics on how many workers and companies covered.

Night work

Are there any laws or collective agreements in place that allow derogations from the maximum working day of 10 hours in a 24-hour period if night work is performed? If so, please give details and, if available, statistics on how many workers and companies covered.

The regulation allows derogation for companies bound by a collective agreement, and as such to conclude an agreement with the employee representative regarding maximum working time. The wording of the regulation is similar to article 8 of the directive; as such agreements may be concluded due to objective or technical reasons or reasons concerning the organisation of work. In such cases it is possible to evade both weekly working time (60 hrs a week if an average of 48 hrs is not exceeded over 16 weeks), and night work (same wording as the directive). Likewise, the regulation concerning daily working time (13 hrs within a period of 24 hrs) may also be evaded. None of the major collective agreements within the road transport sector has provisions derogating from the maximum working time (neither weekly nor nightly). The regulation gives this authority to the company level social partners. Such agreements may exist at the company level, although no examples of this have been found. If such agreements exist, it might be because of special circumstances.

4. Specific issues

a) What are the main problems in this sector in your country?

Are there requests from interested parties (employees, trade unions, employer bodies, the government) about regulation on any of the following:

  • health and safety
  • working conditions
  • long working hours
  • controls and checks on drivers

Regarding health and safety issues, the most important problem arise in relation to the implementation of these systems, due to lack of a permanent working place. Employees, especially within long hauling, only occasionally meet with the administrative staff of the company or the safety representative. Health and safety measures are therefore harder to implement than in other kinds of companies. The major health and safety problem is life style related, i.e. smoking, too little exercise and unhealthy food. There are no known requests for regulations on the topics listed in the questionnaire in this sector. However, trade union representatives have argued that bus drivers that drive less than 50 km, and therefore are not covered by the controls laid down by the AETR agreement, constitute a security risk. They argue that these employees often work long hours, and no controls are undertaken by the public authorities to check how many hours a week they are working.Further, in parts of the sector it is hard to recruit new employees. Trade unions claim that this is due to two factors. Firstly the existence of many of these bus companies’ is based on tenders. The employees do not know whether they will still have a job after the end of the tender period as this depends on which company is getting the next tender. Thus, job prospects in this sector are uncertain. Secondly, this sector is a low wage sector, and this, coupled with the fact that they often work shifts, can make it less attractive when it comes to recruiting employees. b) Self-employed drivers

Please give details of the kind of debate that is being held in your country on this issue. For example, what are the views of the government and the social partners on whether or not self-employed drivers should be covered by national implementing legislation.

In the opinion of the trade unions self-employed should be covered by the same regulations as ordinary employees. They argue that this is of importance when it comes to both traffic security and fair competition. The Norwegian Haulier’s Association (NLF), on the other hand, has taken the opposite stand. They argue that there are no restrictions on self-employed within other sectors with regards to working time, and the only legitimate argument supporting the introduction of such regulations should be traffic security. In their opinion traffic security is already sufficiently covered through the implementation of the AETR agreement. Further, most of the Norwegian self-employed within this sector are truly self-employed, and not affiliated to an employer.

c) Trans-border drivers

Are trans-border drivers concerned by your country regulation in the road transport sector? If so, please specify how. For example, which jurisdiction covers drivers who cross your country on their way to other countries? Is this an issue for debate in your country?

Trans-border drivers exist in a very little scale in Norway.

d) Other issues

Are there any other issues of importance in your country that have not been covered above?

One issue that has been discussed regards the liability when regulations concerning rest periods or breaks have been breached. Prior to the implementation of the directive, one could have situations where the time limit given by the forwarding agent or other employer was so short that the driver had to ignore provisions on rest periods in order to make his deliverance on time. In accordance with the new regulation the forwarding agent and others may now be held liable. The Norwegian Haulier’s association supports this, but the trade union NTF is more sceptical. In NTF’s opinion this may lead to a situation in which the employee may be held liable even where others are to blame. They fear that the forwarding agent, tour organiser, employer and so on may start blaming each other, and that responsibility dissolves, leaving the employee, that has actually driven the truck, in a difficult position when arguing his innocence. Thus the consequence might be that the employee will be held liable more often now than before the regulation came into force, where the employer had to take the responsibility.

Problems related to foreign drivers being unprepared for the weather conditions in Norway during winter. This has been causing accidents as well as traffic jams.

5. Views of the national centre

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