P.O. box companies remain a favoured instrument for organising social dumping

Despite a European ban, Belgian hauliers continue to commit fraud through PO Box companies. This is the conclusion reached again by BTB-ABVV in the 5th black book on social dumping.

We also note that, despite the establishment of a European control agency ELA, the Belgian government is still not deploying extra inspectors to control the transport sector. On the contrary. A third conclusion is that, despite the Mobility Package, the FPS Mobility fails to draw up an accurate and updated catalogue of fines, let alone withdraw the licence of fraudulent transport companies.

On 27 October, it was exactly one year ago that the court raided Transport Van Steenbergen in Arendonk. Minister Gilkinet, responsible for the FPS Mobility, had the opportunity at the time to withdraw the company's transport licence so that the lorries would be permanently chained up. Since this did not happen, the Portuguese and Romanian drivers, employed by the Slovakian post office box company, could start driving again the day after. On that anniversary, BTB-ABVV handed over the latest black book to the cabinet.

Just like previous years, BTB-ABVV went to Slovakia to check whether Belgian transport companies still have a postbox there. But our research team also tracked down postal companies in the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.

Tom Peeters, deputy federal secretary for road transport and logistics: "After our visits to the three countries, we were able to establish that many Belgian transport companies still have a PO box. Some of them even in different countries. What is striking here is that the physical traces of many post boxes have been erased and they only exist on paper. Others moved or employ a single person to supposedly comply with European rules."

Besides the well-known phenomenon of the PO Box as a means of employing cheap drivers in Western Europe, Belgian companies use the PO Box for tax and legal reasons (Luxembourg). For example, a number of Belgian companies deliberately register their drivers with the Luxembourg branch in order to stay under the threshold of 50 employees. In this way, they escape the control of the trade union.

Tom Peeters: "Despite the European ban, made even stricter by the Mobility Package, Belgian transport companies continue to use PO boxes to organise social dumping. It is high time that the Belgian and European authorities put a stop to this once and for all.


Download the 5th Black book on social dumping here.