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Netherlands – Court condemns “illegal” recruitment structures

31 May 2013

A court in the Netherlands this week ruled in favour of the trade union FNV in a case against a Dutch transport company which had hired Polish truckers through a Polish recruitment agency, thereby circumventing local labour law.

The company involved, Mooij Oost-Europa Service, had used Polish agency workers who were contracted to drive through Europe. But Dutch labour law, including pay entitlements, did not apply to the workers, something the union condemned as “illegal”. The court confirmed that hiring the Polish workers under these conditions was unlawful.

The court argued that due to the close connection to the Netherlands – the truckers were working on behalf of a Dutch company despite being hired by a Polish recruitment firm – Dutch labour law should apply. It said that both the nature and structure of the work interlinks strongly to the Netherlands, making the provision of Dutch labour law mandatory.

FNV called the judgment of the court a breakthrough against the exploitation of Eastern European drivers. It said that these types of “illegal staffing structures” are not only used in the logistics industry, but also in the construction, agriculture and trade sectors where it could have a significant impact. 

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