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A Dutch carrier that set up a letterbox company in Lithuania was fined severely by the Labour Inspectorate (Inspectie SZW). The company claimed that drivers working in the Netherlands are subject to the Lithuanian conditions of employment and refused to produce documentation.

The Dutch carrier had two transport companies – one in Lithuania and one in Nijmegen. The company refused to provide the Dutch Labour Inspectorate (Inspectie Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid) with documentation on employee wages. As a result, the inspectors could not check whether the 15 truck drivers working mainly in the Netherlands were adequately remunerated for their work, bigtruck.nl reports. According to the employer, these truckers were covered by Lithuanian labour law.

The Inspectorate disagreed with this interpretation and in its view, the carrier should comply with Dutch labour law, as the Netherlands can be regarded as the country of employment. Consequently, the Law on Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance (Wml) applies here. Therefore, the Inspectie SZW asked the Lithuanian company to present documents confirming the payment of statutory salaries. However, it refused, in breach of the second paragraph of Article 18b of the Wml.

Therefore, the inspectorate imposed a fine of €89,000 on the operator. 

The company can still appeal the fine. The question is, however, what consequences might the carrier face if it produces documentation proving a breach of the Netherlands Minimum Wage Act.

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