Truckers to receive €10,000 each after Lithuanian haulier is found guilty of social dumping
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A Lithuanian haulier found guilty of social dumping in Belgium must compensate the drivers it has cheated with €10,000 each, while the boss of the company has been given a suspended sentence of 6 months.
The hauliers were accused of social dumping and local tax evasion. Among them was Lithuania’s Arijus, which lost 13 trucks at the time.
Through various discussions, Belgian and Dutch trade unions learned that some drivers working for Arijus (from Ukraine and Belarus) were registered in Lithuania, had Lithuanian labour contracts and Lithuanian salaries, but worked in Belgium and neighboring countries and never returned to Lithuania.
It is said that the drivers were required to live in their cabin for 5 to 12 weeks at a time. The FNV union says the cheated drivers had to wash themselves in the open air using water bottles, and cooked in their cabs (mainly when it was windy enough for them to open the windows and have ventilation). On top of this, the drivers were allegedly instructed to ignore drivers’ hours rules – putting themselves and other motorists at risk.
A verdict has now been reached in this case. The Bruges Criminal Court has sentenced the director of the company and the former Deputy Minister of Transport to six months of suspended imprisonment and a fine of an undisclosed amount.
Arijus was also ordered to pay €10,000 to each driver it had cheated by not paying the legal minimum according to Belgian law. As there were 38 drivers who were conned by the company, the haulage firm will have to pay a total of €380,000.
The Dutch trade union FNV has declared its satisfaction with the verdict, as well as its role in discovering the social dumping crimes alongside fellow trade union VNB.
Commenting on the verdict, FNV spokesperson Edwin Atema said that the Dutch authorities could learn something from their Belgian counterparts:
“It shows that in the Netherlands the inspection services and the Public Prosecution Service only think in terms of impossibilities. For every enforcement solution we propose, a new problem is sought. In Belgium they show how it should be done. The Dutch inspection services and the Public Prosecution Service should do an internship there.”
Records on Lithuania’s company database show that Arijus made a profit of €1,238,958 in 2021.
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