500 PH truck drivers in Europe victims of unfair labor practices but won’t go home – DFA
ABOUT 500 Filipino truck drivers in Europe may be victims of unfair labor practices but some of those who had been rescued have refused to go home, an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.
Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, head of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA), stressed this during the Senate public hearing on the alleged “social dumping” of 22 truck drivers in Padborg, Germany.
Arriola said that the issue did not only involved only one country, Denmark. “In fact, we have four posts in Europe that are involved now in trying to look into this case: Warsaw, Poland, Hague, Netherland, Oslo, Norway because it has jurisdiction over Copenhagen, Denmark and Berlin, Germany.”
“Actually, we have discovered that it might involve around 500 Filipino truck drivers all over Europe,” Arriola told the committee on labor chaired by Sen. Joel Villanueva.
The panel has invited officials from DFA, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to shed light on the reported plight of some Filipino truck drivers in Denmark.
Asked by Villanueva whether the Filipinos were all victims of alleged social dumping, she said, “Actually, the thing is most of them who are recruited here in the Philippines by United Prime Mover. It’s a POEA-licensed (firm).”
“But some of them came from Saudi Arabia. So they were all over the place. (The) United Prime Mover sends the to its partner agency, to Poland HBT International Transport, a Polish company which in turn sends them to other truck companies to Europe notably Kurt Beier in Denmark; Andersen Euro Handel in Warsaw, Poland; Hoekman Logistics which is Dutch company operating in the Netherlands,” she said.
“The drivers are legally working in Denmark so it’s not a police case. The police has visited the company but has not found any illegal so far. The Filipinos do not want to go home,” Arriola said.
She added, “We talked to them but they prefer to talk to the unions who are renegotiating their contracts. They would like to stay and continue working there. They are asking assistance to have better living conditions, and to have the terms of their employment contracts renegotiated.” BERNADETTE TAMAYO
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