Project Description


Low pay, long hours:
Life for Europe’s truck drivers

Sept 29th, 2018


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.

Media Partners

Piętnaście godzin za kierownicą tira, czyli jak powstało i upada polskie imperium ciężarówek”
“Fifteen hours behind the wheel of a truck: how the Polish truck empire came about, and collapsed”
Truckers komen van steeds verder weg: ‘Ook de Poolse chauffeur is te duur geworden’
“Truckers come from further and further away: Polish drivers have become too expensive”
“Das schmutzige Geschäft mit den Lkw-Fahrern aus Osteuropa”
“The dirty business with the truck drivers from Eastern Europe”
“Le quotidien intenable des routiers, nouveaux forçats de l’industrie automobile européenne” 
“The unsustainable daily life of truck drivers working for the European automotive industry”
“Flere og flere chauffører fra fattige lande overtager job i EU” 
“More and more drivers from poor countries take over jobs in the EU”

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