Sweatshops on wheels

In a process known as social dumping, companies employ migrant workers paying them at a level far below the accepted rate for drivers in the countries they’re working. The European Union has so far allowed this to take place, condoning, in fact, some of the worst practices in the road transport industry.

The Investigate Europe team visited some of Europe’s parking lots and can confirm that haulage drivers are paid in wages much lower than the minimum in the countries they work. And the situation is even worse for those coming from non-EU countries.

Art Direction & Motion Graphics Design: Alexia Barakou Sound design & original score: Vassilis Zampikos Narration: Pavlos Zafiropoulos

We found:

  • Drivers who say they are cheated out of their full pay through technicalities and petty behaviour.
  • Resting time regulation violated through pressure.
  • Resting conditions that were substandard and often slum-like.
  • Stories of drivers dying of exhaustion in parking lots.
  • Threats to unions.
  • Cheating in health and safety exams, which increases risk of accidents.
  • Drivers working long hours with little rest.

We spoke to drivers with no coverage for healthcare, no paid holidays, restricted days off and many were suffering from stress and exhaustion, and found evidence – via work contracts – that links some of Europe’s biggest car makers to drivers employed under these conditions.

Read more in the publications below