THE SLOVAK Road Hauliers Association (UNAS), currently on strike alert, convened a meeting of Nitra region road hauliers in Nitra to inform them about UNAS demands concerning new legislation on road transport, which has been in effect since January, the TASR newswire reported on February 9.

UNAS submitted its demands to the Transport Ministry on February 7. UNAS presidium member Stanislav Skala told TASR that a reply from the ministry is expected by February 20. By then, UNAS plans to discuss its demands with hauliers operating in other Slovak regions.

UNAS wants the legislation to be revisited, and demands a reduction in the number of tolled roads to a percentage closer to that seen in other countries (7.5 percent of roads in Slovakia are subject to tolls, whereas the figure for Germany is 1.9 percent, Austria is 2.1 percent and the Czech Republic is 1.1 percent, for example) and the elimination of charges for driving through villages - a practice unique to Slovakia.

“We also want to lower the extremely high fines and modify them in accordance with European standards and purchasing power in Slovakia,” said Skala, as quoted by TASR. The list of demands has 17 items in total.

UNAS believes the new measures pose a danger to the very existence of small- and medium-sized road hauliers.

“Our hauliers will lose their competitiveness, which will translate into the loss of jobs and other adverse effects,” he added.

The Transport Ministry, however, says that the changes to the toll system are intended to protect the living conditions of people and to direct the trucks onto the roads where they belong, TASR wrote.