In March, BBC revealed that Romanian hauliers transporting Ikea goods in Scandinavia were being underpaid. This has now resulted in legal proceedings with a Romanian Ikea haulier demanding to be paid a Danish salary as well as back pay amounting to millions of kroner.
Can a haulage contractor transporting furniture for Ikea in Scandinavia get away with paying a Slovakian salary to its Romanian hauliers despite the fact that they exclusively operate in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and at no time transport goods within Slovakia or Romania?
The Copenhagen City Court must now reach a decision on this matter, together with a demand for payment in arrears amounting to DKK 1.8 million. The case also concerns a series of breaches of both Danish legislation and EU regulations.
This case comes in the wake of a television programme screened in March, in which the BBC revealed that Romanian hauliers are transporting furniture in Scandinavia for Ikea for a sub-standard salary.
Haulier brings test case concerning fair transport
The Romanian haulier, Emilian Tudor Jetzi, has brought a case against Ikea’s haulage supplier, Bring Trucking. The Romanian truck driver is supported by the Romanian haulage union SLT together with 3F Transport, both of which wish to establish whether EU regulations can ensure fair transport.
In addition to payment in arrears, the haulier and the two unions wish to settle the matter of whether it is legal for Eastern European hauliers to work in Scandinavia on a permanent basis in return for Eastern European salaries.
- It is unequivocally our assessment that the Romanian haulier in question has been on secondment in Denmark, and accordingly, is entitled to be paid a salary at a Danish level and to be given a Danish contract. Among other reasons, we have brought this case on the basis of the EU secondment directive and the principle that employees should be paid the same salary for the same work in the same country, says Jan Villadsen, general secretary of 3F Transport.
Employer: We have no knowledge of this
Bring Trucking is a state-owned Norwegian firm, and the trade journal Fagbladet 3F has asked the Norwegian owners to comment on the case. This request for comment was submitted to Bring Trucking on the morning of Friday 19th May by 3F’s solicitor. This was the response:
- Neither the Norwegian Postal Service nor Bring Trucking is aware of any such case. We therefore have no comment to make on the matter, says John Eckhoff, public relations officer at the Norwegian Postal Service.
Nor did he offer any response on the matter of how many Romanian hauliers are employed to transport goods for Ikea and other customers in Scandinavia.
Emilian Tudor Jetzi was formally employed by the company’s subsidiary in Slovakia on a Slovakian contract, according to the terms of which he was paid a salary of barely DKK 3000 a month plus a tax-free mileage allowance. However, Emilian Tudor Jetzi states that he at no time operated haulage in Slovakia:
- In the six years I was employed at the company we never once transported goods in Slovakia. The only time I was in Slovakia was when we were transported by minibus from our homes in Romania to Slovakia, from where other minibuses transported me on to Denmark, where my truck was waiting for me at Bring Trucking’s office and depot at Kastrup, explains Emilian Tudor Jetzi.