Once in hot water, always in hot water: Jost Group finds itself again in front of the Belgian court for mistreatment of its drivers.
Belgian news outlet, RTBF reveals findings of CSC in an interview with Roberto Parrillo, head of transport and logistics at CSC.
For two months now, Belgian transport union, CSC Transcom, has been investigating Jost Group, an international company whose Belgian subsidiary is based in Herstal.
Every two weeks, an aeroplane takes off from Bucharest with 150 – 160 drivers, in Maastricht, a bus awaits them and brings them to Jost’s hangar in Herstal. They then get behind the wheel and drive in Belgium or in Europe for Jost. CSC, doubtful of these comings and goings, opened an investigation to bring the case to justice.
Indeed, these comings and goings reveal a much darker truth:
Deplorable working and living conditions
Roberto Parrillo of CSC, and ETF Road Transport Section chair denounces the living conditions of Romanian Drivers in the hangars in Herstal and reveals that “drivers are mistreated, insulted, and hundreds are in the hangar with only three showers and two toilets available”.
Documents reveal dubious practices
Documents obtained by CSC show confusing balance sheets that don’t add up… Skiptrans, Jost’s Romanian subsidiary employs 842 drivers but has no rolling stock and yet, they’re in an excellent financial state of health whereas Jost presented an insolvency risk at the end of 2019… It begs the question if Skiptrans has 842 drivers and no rolling stock then who do the trucks belong to?
Looking at the wages, the average wage paid in Romania by Skiptrans represents only 15% of the average wage paid in Belgium…
Roberto Parrillo reveals that CSC’s findings have revealed that Jost is paying these drivers 550 euros, in addition to an undeclared amount of 55 euros per day. A clear case of social security fraud.
For him, “The law is clear, if I work in Belgium or my starting point is in Belgium, I need to be paid a Belgian salary.”
Another case of a letterbox company circumventing social security and practicing social dumping.
This isn’t the first time Jost Group is in hot water. They’ve been under investigation since 2015 by the federal prosecutor for social fraud and human trafficking in its Romanian and Slovak subsidiaries.
Roland Jost, the group’s CEO and other company officials have since been charged. Federal prosecution cites social fraud and a loss of 60 million euros for Belgian social security.
Jost and Skiptrans claim defamation, but CSC has proof: documents, videos, interviews. It’s time for social justice.
In the EU, the recently adopted Mobility Package will hopefully, if effectively enforced, put a stop to such practices as new rules come into force.