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ELA

ELA supported large scale inspection in the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium

The Belgian authorities organised a joint inspection with participation from Bulgarian authorities on Monday with the support of the European Labour Authority in Zeebrugge, Belgium. The inspection was performed under the direction of the Belgian Labour Prosecutor and the focus was on fight against social dumping. The inspectors checked, in particular, the application of the Mobility Package and the lex-specialis concerning posting of drivers. They also checked the compliance with the general rules on driving times and resting periods, the use of the tachograph, maximum load, violations against rules on wages and working time. 101 out of 153 drivers checked had irregularities with the observance of their weekly rest.  

Inspectors at work

The 6th of June was a public holiday in Belgium, when road transport is not possible and trucks are normally stopped somewhere in a car park or along the roadside, making it easier for the inspectors to gain access to the drivers and trucks.  

The European Labour Authority (ELA) coordinated and supported the joint inspection, and facilitated the participation of observers from the Bulgarian Road Transport Administration, Traffic Police and Labour Inspectorate. A European Labour Authority expert, as well as the National Liaison Officers for Belgium and Bulgaria were present. Also social partner organisations representing both employers and employees participated in the inspection as observers. 

A total of 153 vehicles and drivers were checked, revealing 101 infringements related to working and resting time rules and 32 breaches on the use of the tachograph. Also, one fraud with environmental rules was found (related to the use of AdBlue=prohibited diesel fuel). 

During the operation, one person was arrested and will potentially be repatriated due to illegal employment. The officers also found forged invoices from certain hotels or youth hostels, which drivers intended to use to prove that they were not staying in their truck, but were indeed staying in a hotel or other place of residence. 

Also, false driver certificates, ID cards and driver cards were discovered. The officials made in total 106 official reports. An amount of EUR 189,400.00 was collected immediately in connection to 101 fines issued. 

An investigation regarding social dumping involving 7 drivers and 2 mechanics was also carried out by the labour inspectorate and the Belgian social security inspectorate. As part of this investigation, 3 trucks were seized. 

Background: 

ELA provides the Member States operational support and assistance in preparation, coordination, inspections and follow up actions. For instance, ELA facilitates communication and exchange of information, organises joint preparatory, operational and follow up meetings and provides financial support (reimburses interpretation, accommodation, travel expenses incurred due to cross border actions). ELA provides also other support, such as translation of case specific documentation or communication material.  

ELA’s National Liaison Officers seconded from each EU Member States support this coordination and facilitation of cross-border activities.