Four EU trade unions call for boycott of Polish carriers due to Ukrainian border blockade
Trade associations and chambers of commerce in Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, and Italy have called for a boycott of Polish truckers who have organized a transport blockade on the border with Ukraine
This is stated in an open letter of the mentioned trade associations and chambers, Ukrinform reports.
"We call on all EU companies and representatives of their respective transport sectors not to renew transport contracts or sign new contracts with Polish transport companies as long as they continue to block the Polish-Ukrainian border," the open letter says.
The authors of the letter also recalled that after Russia began blockading Ukrainian seaports, Ukraine had only road transport to import or export goods from the country. Two years of ongoing war have led to the impoverishment of the population. The blockade on the Polish-Ukrainian border, organized by Polish transport unions, has been in place since November 6, and is scheduled to continue until the end of January.
As the document notes, the blockade has resulted in rising prices and fuel shortages in Ukraine. Currently, only humanitarian and military cargo can cross the border, which has led to a 40% drop in exports from Ukraine in November alone. Two Ukrainian drivers died in a queue of more than 2,500 trucks that had accumulated near the border.
The authors of the letter expressed hope that Polish transportation companies would quickly end the blockade if companies in Western Europe boycotted them while the blockade of the border with Ukraine continues.
"The Western European market is more important for these (Polish) companies than the Ukrainian transportation market. We have no problem with the actions of trade unions, and Polish transport unions can carry them out inside Poland without harming the state, which is fighting hard for all of us," the open letter says.
The document was signed by representatives of the Belgium-Ukraine Business Club, the Ukrainian-Austrian Association, the Netherlands-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, and the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce in Italy.
Strikes on the border between Poland and Ukraine
Strikes have erupted on the Poland-Ukraine border due to increased competition following the opening of international transportation between Ukraine and EU nations. To address this, the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development initiated talks with Poland and the European Commission.
Responding to the potential border blockage, the State Border Guard Service provided comments, and Ukraine formally communicated its concerns to Poland regarding the planned strike by Polish carriers at the Ukrainian-Polish border.
On November 6, Polish carriers initiated a strike at the border. The Ministry of Infrastructure noted that no official demands had been submitted by the Polish carriers to Kyiv.
By the evening of November 7, Polish carriers had fully halted the movement of cargo vehicles at two border checkpoints with Ukraine.
Subsequently, it was revealed that trucks are facing up to a 90-hour wait to enter Ukraine.
On November 9, a meeting of government officials and carriers blocking the border with Ukraine took place in Poland, but it concluded without any resolution. Simultaneously, the lines of trucks are growing longer. Consequently, Ukraine has suggested to the Polish authorities the initiation of lanes for empty trucks and is currently awaiting their response.
On November 15, trilateral talks with Poland and the European Commission on unblocking the crossing points took place, but they did not yield any results. Instead, the European Commission may initiate measures against Poland if the authorities do not resolve the issue of carriers blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine.
Polish carriers have promised to tighten the blockade on the border with Ukraine. In addition, customs officers have begun to record an increase in truck queues in the Slovak direction.
Ukraine and Poland are preparing claims for damages caused by the blockade of border crossing points due to the rally of Polish carriers. In addition, it has been reported that Polish carriers are not allowing humanitarian aid and dangerous goods to pass through.
According to Volodymyr Balin, vice president of the Association of International Road Carriers, Polish carriers are violating the terms of the strike, which could help to get it called off. At the same time, the Ukrainian economy has already suffered losses of more than €400 million.
Meanwhile, the Polish government has called on Ukraine to cancel the e-queue registration for empty trucks. Poland’s Minister of Agriculture also met with the protesters and offered them a compromise solution.
On December 4, the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE) will discuss the situation with the blockade on the Polish-Ukrainian border.