16 March 2017
UK firms are making increasing use of foreign haulage companies that exploit their workers and do not follow road safety regulations.
This is the claim of Jack Semple, from the Road Haulage Association, who told the BBC that cheap haulage services are being used by major retailers in an attempt to undercut their competition.
“We are seeing far more foreign lorries that are frankly less compliant with drivers’ hours and road-worthiness regulations. There is a road safety risk, and the Treasury is losing a fortune in tax revenue. They have to get a grip on this because big, well-known UK retailers and other companies are making increasing use of these firms because they don’t cost very much,” he explained.
The claim came as part of a wider investigation into the horrific conditions lorry drivers working for Eastern European companies are encountering. The BBC reported that drivers moving goods through Western Europe for IKEA are receiving salaries of less than £3 per hour and are being forced to live in their cabs because they do not earn enough to pay for accommodation during long trips.
This breaches EU law, which states that workers must be paid the equivalent of national minimum wage in whichever country they work, but haulage companies are finding loopholes to exploit.
A Romanian driver called Emilian told the broadcaster he sleeps, eats and washes in his truck during journeys of up to four months
His salary averages at £420 a month, while Moldovians interviewed by the BBC said they regularly receive just £130 a month from their employer.