Transport unions organise day of action to underline lack of progress in working time debate

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), with the support of the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) organised an international day of action for 5 October 1999 to underline the lack of progress in the debate on drivers' working hours, both at European level and internationally. Under the banner "Fatigue kills", drivers across the world were due to protest to highlight the dangers of long working hours.

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), with the support of the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) have organised for 5 October 1999 a repeat of the day of action they held in September 1998 (EU9809127F) under the banner Fatigue kills. The aim of the "international road transport action day", in which over 100,000 drivers worldwide were due to participate, was to highlight the health hazards to drivers and the general public of excessively long working hours. The protest was intended to underline the trade unions' demands for the limitation of working time to a maximum of 48 hours per week in line with International Labour Organisation Convention No. 153 on hours of work and rest periods (road transport), through adoption of legislation at national level in each country. In Europe, unions are demanding the implementation of European Commission proposals to legislate to limit working hours in road transport to an average of 48 hours per week (EU9901144F). Working time negotiations between ETF and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) had broken down in September 1999 (EU9809127F).

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) came out in support of ETF's call for cuts in lorry drivers' working hours, stating that: "this third Europe-wide demonstration is to lobby for European legislation on working time in the road haulage industry and on rest periods for drivers in order to provide them with healthier and safer working conditions. That legislation is still stuck in the Community machine"

ETUC called upon EU transport ministers to "live up to their responsibilities" and swiftly adopt a European Directive to protect lorry drivers and the general public.

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