Truck convoy leaves The Hague in Europe protest

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Eleven heavy trucks pulled out of The Hague Monday in a slow convoy to Brussels to protest rules that allow self-employed drivers to work more hours than their salaried counterparts.

The trucks, from different European Union countries, will first drive through Germany, Luxembourg and France before reaching Belgium, Jan de Jong, spokesman for Dutch labour federation FNV, told AFP.

"They will arrive in Brussels on Wednesday to display our unhappiness," he said.

The vehicles were painted in the colours of their countries of origin: Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.

A European directive that entered into force in March 2005 limits the number of hours a salaried driver is allowed to work per week to 48, but exempts self-employed drivers.

A European Parliament committee discussing whether to extend the application to independent workers is set to vote on a set of proposals on Wednesday.

EU figures from 2008 showed that 31 percent of European truck drivers were independent operators.

© 2010 AFP

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