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Poland bridles at German minimum wage

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Poland bridles at German minimum wage
Photo: DPA
14:46 CET+01:00
Germany's newly-introduced €8.50 minimum wage is raising hackles at Polish trucking companies, who say they shouldn't have to pay their drivers at that rate for the hours they spend on their western neighbour's roads.

A spokesman for the Polish Embassy in Berlin told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that while Poland didn't want to interfere in German affairs, they didn't agree that drivers heading to France or Spain should be paid the German minimum wage.

But a Labour Ministry spokesman said that the government would stick to its guns.

“The minimum wage law is applicable to all employees while they're working in Germany, whether or not the employer is located here or abroad,” he told The Local.

“We've received lots of letters from German freight companies pleading for fair competition, in favour of foreign drivers and companies paying the minimum wage.”

Foreign trucking companies are also annoyed that they will have to submit travel plans and proof of the hours each driver spent on German roads to the customs authorities.

“In certain sectors, foreign employers will be obliged to submit written notice in German before starting any work or service,” the Labour Ministry spokesman confirmed.

But he added that there were measures in place to specifically lighten the burden of paperwork for trucking companies.

Figures released by the Polish government show that the country's truckers make around 1.8 million journeys per year through Germany.

And Poland takes in around a quarter of all taxes on freight levied in the European Union.

The importance of the road freight sector to the Polish economy means that Polish Labour Minister Wladyslw Kosiniak-Kamysz will make a special trip to Berlin to meet his German counterpart Andrea Nahles.

Meanwhile, a so-called “pilot process” has been launched by the European Commission to mediate between Germany, Poland and other eastern member states such as the Czech Republic and avert legal action.

SEE ALSO: New Year minimum wage for millions

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