Freight News, Road

Workers protest against ‘IKEA exploitation’

[ February 27, 2017   //   ]

Transport trade unions staged demonstrations in Germany and Sweden during February highlighting the plight of drivers working for subcontractors to IKEA. The said that they were working on the road for weeks and months on end, earning inferior wages, living in their trucks and subject to the abuse of social, labour and safety rules.

It follows a judgment by the District Court of the Northern Netherlands in a case where drivers were being paid a basic wage around eight times lower than the basic wage under the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement.

The Court found that the arrangement was set up to evade the Dutch CLA and demanded an immediate end to the practice. It also ordered an end to the practice of drivers living in their trucks during weekly rest breaks and awarded back pay to three Dutch drivers.

Head of inland transport at the trade union body, International Transport Federation, Noel Coard, said: “Economic employers like IKEA control the economy on our roads. Transport companies are under constant threat from the top of the supply chain: break the law or lose the contract. But IKEA has the power to end the misery that truck drivers are living. Our door remains open and we firmly believe that IKEA can be part of the solution rather than the problem.”

Earlier this month, Ministers from nine European countries published proposals for a ‘Road Alliance’ that, they say, would fight ‘social dumping’ in the industry by harmonising legislation and strengthening legislation on driving and rest periods. This would include ‘encouraging’ operators to allow drivers to return to their home base at weekends.