Sweatshops on wheels

Summary

Big
haulage companies exploit drivers from low-wage countries as a business
model, often with severe consequences for those behind the wheel.

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.

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

Publications