S&Ds successfully push for more reliable and affordable cross-border delivery services in the parcels sector
Tomorrow, the European Parliament will vote on the agreement reached with the EU Council by S&D MEP Lucy Anderson on a regulation to improve cross-border parcel delivery services.
Through this regulation, Socialists and Democrats have ensured greater transparency on workers’ terms and conditions in the parcels sector, and provisions to help SMEs by bringing down barriers to e-commerce between EU member states.
S&D MEPs also secured a better emphasis on rights for consumers, underlining they must be given relevant information about delivery options such as pricing, choice and how to complain when things go wrong.
And the new rules on cross-border parcel tariffs in this regulation empower national authorities, more specifically, to monitor delivery prices and assess those they deem unreasonably high. In doing so they must take into account the likely impact of prices, including on anyone who is disabled or having reduced mobility and SMEs and citizens in remote areas.
Around four billion parcels are ordered on-line and delivered in the EU every year. E-commerce is one of the fastest growing sectors in the EU, but it requires a more reliable and affordable delivery service that works in the interest of consumers, businesses and delivery staff.
To shine a light on unfair or illegal terms and conditions for workers in the delivery industry, parcel companies with 50 or more employees must provide national regulators with yearly updates on their employment practices and use of sub-contractors for parcel deliverers. National regulators also have the option to include smaller companies of over 25 employees if they deem it necessary.
The European Parliament negotiator, S&D MEP Lucy Anderson, said:
“This report is an important element of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy in supporting e-commerce growth as part of a modern and fair social Europe. The new rules will help ensure greater transparency of tariffs and employment practices, and a better deal for consumers and small businesses ordering and sending cross-border parcels.
“There has long been concern about the cost of cross-border deliveries in some countries compared with equivalent domestic tariffs, with consumers facing price hikes if a parcel travels across EU states.
“The new rules give national regulators greater authority and guidance to investigate cross-border parcel tariffs that fall under the universal service obligation, when suspecting them to be unreasonably high.
“And on workers’ rights, it is time for the industry to ensure that its entire parcel delivery workforce get decent working conditions and job security. This regulation will help to expose the activities of some businesses that require their parcel delivery workforce to operate on a self-employed or zero hours basis, failing to give staff proper terms and conditions of employment.”
S&D spokesperson on this regulation at the internal market committee, Biljana Borzan MEP, said:
“While 44% of consumers buy online in their own country, only 15% buy from another country. This means that both businesses and consumers are not yet fully benefiting from the single market.
“Around 40% of cross-border parcel prices cannot be explained by economic drivers such as labour costs and volumes, while high delivery cost and high return costs are the top two consumer concerns when purchasing products online cross-border. The report reflects the opinion of the internal market committee aiming to increase transparency of the market and to lower delivery prices for consumers and businesses.”