Labour MEPs: New cross-border parcel laws will increase consumer choice, service and value

The European Parliament this week approved a package of measures that will increase consumer choice, service and value in the parcel delivery industry, as well as greater transparency on workers’ terms and conditions.

The new measures will ensure that when consumers order goods from another EU country they must have detailed information on prices being charged to them and the choices available, such as different delivery companies or refusing to accept a parcel being left outside unattended when you are not at home. Consumers would also get information about complaints processes when parcel deliveries go wrong.

The new rules will also require the major players in the parcels industry, including e-commerce and large multinational companies, to give information to regulators each year on their employment practices for people they employ to deliver parcels.

Lucy Anderson MEP, European Parliament spokesperson on the parcel delivery regulations, said:

“Parcel delivery is a competitive, innovative and fast-growing sector and this new regulation would help improve confidence in the continued growth of e-commerce across Europe. Consumers should be given better information about prices and delivery options available to them when ordering goods across borders within the EU.

“On pricing issues, there has been concern for some time about the level of charging for cross-border parcels in some countries compared with equivalent domestic tariffs, with consumers being ripped off. The Parliament’s version of the regulation gives further authority and guidance to national regulatory authorities in all EU countries to assess cross-border parcel tariffs in the public interest, when deemed necessary.

“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. These new regulations would help to expose the activities of some businesses who do not give their parcel delivery workers proper terms and conditions of employment, and instead require them to operate on a self-employed or zero hours basis.”

Dimitris Theodorakis, spokesperson of UNI Europa Post & Logistics, representing postal workers across Europe, added:

“We welcome this report as a positive step in establishing a minimum regulatory framework applying consistently to all parcel delivery operators, tackling market failures and instances of unfair competition, and including sub-contractors.

“The next step will be to ensure that precarious work and a race to the bottom in terms of employment and working conditions is eliminated.”

Negotiations with the European Council, representing governments of all 28 EU countries, will now start on a final version of the Cross-border Parcels Regulation, and it is hoped to conclude these in the next few months. Once finally approved by the Council and the Parliament, it would come into force very soon afterwards.

The European Parliament’s research service gives further background to the proposal for a cross-border parcel services regulation: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2016/586616/EPRS_BRI(2016)586616_EN.pdf