10/23/2006

Labour and social issues arising from problems of cross-border mobility of international drivers in the road transport sector

Excessive border delays, inefficient or corrupt border officials and drivers'
vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS put the
international road transport sector at risk, according to a new report by the
International Labour Organization (ILO).

In many cases, poor infrastructure, inefficient organization of official
procedures and unprofessional border officials not only negatively affect the
living and working conditions of international drivers at border crossings
worldwide but also have negative economic impacts.

"On the roads and border crossings of Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia,
issues such as current visa policies are creating the primary stumbling block
for drivers, including restrictions on their right to work", says ILO transport
expert Marios Meletiou. "In many cases, increasing transportation costs also
involve interruptions in manufacturing and delivery cycles".

The report examines the economic, labour and social issues arising from
problems of cross-border mobility of international drivers in the road
transport sector. It cites one example, based on a recent study showing how
inadequate infrastructure capacity reportedly cost billions in estimated lost
gross output and tens of thousands of jobs.

According to IRU (International Road Transport Union), excessive border delays
have also been reported at border crossings in Europe. Some haulers reported
waits of 12 to 48 hours at the border between Poland and Belarus, 20 to 48
hours at the border between Finland and the Russian Federation, and 12 to 72
hours at Latvia's borders with the Russian Federation and Belarus. Extremely
long waiting periods have also been recorded at border crossings with Asia,
reaching up to 72 hours between Turkey and Iraq, and between the Russian
Federation and Central Asian countries.

What's more, unofficial payments and harassment represent a major issue for
drivers, employers, governments and even consumers, the report says. Drivers
and road transport companies absorb the main expenditure, but governments lose
duties on goods, and costs are often passed on throughout the supply chain to
other businesses and ultimately the consumer.

Delays caused by customs procedures are often compounded by inadequate border
facilities, including the lack of secure parking, accommodation, welfare and
sanitation, food and beverage services and communication tools. In addition,
the stress and fatigue that delays create can lead to traffic accidents and
fatalities. "These less than desirable living and working conditions of
international drivers also have a negative effect on society as a whole", says
Mr. Meletiou.

The report also stresses the vulnerability of the workers in international road
transport to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS which has an impact
on many more people throughout the areas where drivers live and work.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: International Labour Office (ILO)