The European Union's Mobility Package has drawn attention to Lithuanian truckers' pay. The social security minister has suggested restrictions on per diem allowances which, trucking companies insists, will drive businesses to relocate out of the country.
MP Tomas Tomilinas says that currently there are 73,000 long-haul truckers in Lithuania. Last year, their monthly salary averaged €530, but their total net monthly pay, including tax-exempt per diem allowances, amounted to €1,800.
Social Security and Labor Minister Linas Kukuraitis proposed on Wednesday to allow companies paying their drivers per diem allowances only if their base salary is at least twice bigger than the minimum wage, which would currently stand at €1,100.
The proposal is a compromise, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis commented on Thursday.
“The problem is the social security of drivers. I think the proposal is a compromise, and not a bad one,” Skvernelis said on the radio Žinių Radijas.
“But I do encourage haulers and (the national road carriers' association) Linava to negotiate with trade unions, to conclude a branch collective agreement and to set out special or additional conditions to protect the interests of drivers, while representing a balanced position for haulers,” he added.
However, the prime minister acknowledged the risk that transport companies, especially smaller ones, could relocate from Lithuania if the proposed restrictions on per diem pay were put in place.
“Yes, this is a risk, but I think we need to look for a compromise and balanced solutions,” he said.