The Dutch union FNV has pressed charges with the Dutch police against the Icelandic logistics firm Samskip, mbl.is reports. The Dutch news analysis program EenVandaag covered the issue this week.
The union accuses Samskip of discriminating against truck drivers, based on nationality, but drivers from Eastern Europe who work in the Netherlands are paid at rates from their home countries.
At issue are subcontractors of Samskip, and Samskip’s CEO Pálmar Óli Matthíasson told mbl.is, “It’s our responsibility that those who work for us abide by the law. We take pride in the rules being followed.”
The news analysis episode includes an interview with a Romanian truck driver who earns a basic salary of ISK 35,000 (USD 327, EUR 309) a month. Truck drivers are said to sleep in their trucks overnight and heat their food on a portable stove inside Samskip’s containers while waiting for assignments. Edwin Aktema, who appeared on the program, representing FNV, called the treatment of the drivers a social and economical organized crime.
A spokesman for FNV told RÚV last night that the violations regarded hundreds of drivers.
Samskip sent out a statement today, saying it takes the press coverage of its alleged violations seriously and plans to investigate the matter, RÚV reports. The company’s CEO maintains that Samskip stresses good working conditions for its employees, and is surprised by the media coverage.
The Dutch Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILENT) fined Samskip last year for violating rules regarding the transportation of goods. There were violations of rules regarding the maximum number of hours drivers are allowed to drive; rules regarding rest times were disregarded; and some of the drivers were working without a contract, RÚV reports.
You can read Samskip’s official response to the allegations here.