The trial against Kurt Beier Transport A/S, which regards allegations it exploited drivers from abroad and operated a “slum camp” in the Danish city of Padborg, is currently in progress. At yesterday’s hearing, a driver from the Philippines testified that he had been mislead, paid less than promised and bawled at by Kurt Beier and the Polish company he was contracted to.
During the court session in Sønderborg, the driver confirmed his belief that the conditions of his employment did not reflect what was offered to him when he signed the contract.
According to Danish newspaper JydskeVestkysten, the driver was recruited by a recruitment company from the Philippines back in 2018 with a view to driving a truck for Kurt Beier Transport’s Polish subsidiary HTB International Transport. In court, the driver said that he had been interviewed by one of the four defendants in the case, and was shown pictures of the accommodation he could expect.
The Filipino said the accomodation in the photo looked like “an apartment or a small house” and described it as “really nice”. However, when he arrived in Padborg, he said he was accommodated in a container that was so crowded he sometimes preferred to sleep in his truck cabin.
The driver also explained that he had expected to be based in Poland and to drive around Europe for HTB International Transport. Nevertheless, after just a few days in the country, he was put on a bus to Padborg in Denmark.
The prosecution has filed charges that the foreign drivers were actually employed by Kurt Beier Transport, even though they worked on Polish contracts with the HTB International Transport subsidiary.
It is reported that none of the drivers have been able to present payslips. According to the investigation, they were paid an average of 1,030 euros in monthly salary from the Polish bank account belonging to Kurt Beier Transport. However, the driver claims he never actually received this amount during the months he was in Padborg. He told the court that “there was always something missing” and that the company said the money was taken to compensate for the cost of his flight to Europe. Moreover, he also states he was never paid for overtime. Worse still, he alleges that Kurt Beier staff shouted at him and other drivers “go home to the Philippines”.
On top of that, ther driver explained of how he was taken to hospital after fainting as a result of high blood pressure caused by overwork and stress.
When asked why he continued to work despite all of the above, the driver said he had no choice as he needed to support his family back in the Philippines. He also explained that he had spent over a year away from his family as he had no time or money to be able to fly back home. He claims he was told the company would fund a flight back to the Philippines after two years of service.
The court case, which started a month ago, shall continue in the coming days. Tomorrow, a driver from Sri Lanka will provide his testimony.