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“Sleeping is done only at the end of the month”

Benno Fries is a trucker, for the next 7 days he is on the road.  Hamburg - Dortmund – Leipzig - Berlin – the first stops today. With him we experience what has become of the once so proud “Captains of the road” due to the deregulation of lorry traffic throughout the EU: “We are no longer humans. One can abuse us, insult us, push us around. That hurts.”

What outrages the truckers most when they meet at their meeting points is the daily increasing competition from the East-European drivers, who already control most of the long distance tours. This is really low wage labour says a Dutchman indignantly: “In their countries they can live for 300€ like kings, but they couldn’t give a damn what happens to us!

2300 € a month plus expenses is Benno’s salary. The working hours are officially 9 hours per day, these can however be increased to 13 hours, and thrice in a week even up to 15 hours. And even these maximum limits are exceeded nationwide with the help of manipulative tricks by many freight forwarders. “We truckers must pay the fines when caught in road traps and special inspections, not the freight forwarders. No complaining, otherwise I can go and pick up my papers right away. When I’m gone there are 3 east European truckers waiting for my job”