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27 Jul 2023

International Transport Workers' Federation

Second wildcat strike in Grafenhausen shines new light on continued human rights abuses in European road transport

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A second wildcat strike by truck drivers at a rest area in Grafenhausen, Germany, has brought renewed attention to the systemic issues plaguing the road transport industry in Europe, and the urgent need for intervention by government and industry stakeholders to protect the rights of third-country nationals.  

The striking drivers have gathered at the rest area to demand pay owed them by the Polish trucking consortium Mazur Group or Agmaz-Lukmaz-Imperia. As of today, over 130 trucks and their drivers, who come from countries including Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, and Tajikistan, are gathered at the rest area. 

A small group of drivers received payment within a number of days with support from the Road Transport Due Diligence Foundation (RTDD) and Fair Mobility, along with the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and ETF and ITF affiliated united service union ver.di and the DGB in Germany. However, the majority of striking truck drivers have not yet received pay owed to them from the company. In addition to payment of the money owed to them, the drivers are also demanding an end to inhumane working conditions, including long working hours, being forced to exclusively live in their trucks, and other unsafe working practices.  

During a similar strike at the Grafenhausen rest area in March and April, it became clear that the Mazur Group hauls goods for major multinational customers and logistics companies across Europe, including IKEA, Volkswagen, CH Robinson and Sennder. The German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains puts obligations on these companies to prevent and mitigate human rights abuses and ensure workers’ rights are protected in their supply chains.

“The current business model for road transport perpetuates violations of workers’ and human rights,” said Livia Spera, General Secretary of the ETF. “In European road transport multinational companies prioritise profit over people, leaving the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains exposed to inhumane treatment, payment delays and much more. It is crucial that authorities hold these companies accountable and enforce existing regulations to ensure the full implementation of social legislation for all drivers, regardless of their nationality.” ...