The Supreme Court's ruling relates to the question whether the Hungarian drivers should have received Dutch wages in the period 2007-2012 for the international transport activities they carried out on behalf of Silo Tank (now Van den Bosch Transportation Kft.).
Hungarian or Dutch salary
On 2 May 2017, the 's-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal ruled that the drivers are not entitled to Dutch wages. This ruling was quashed by the Supreme Court on 23 November 2018. On 27 July 2021, the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal ruled that the drivers are entitled to Dutch wages.
Annulment of previous ruling
The Supreme Court has today overturned the judgment of the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal of 27 July 2021. This means that the Hungarian drivers cannot claim Dutch wages. The case is referred to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court thus follows the earlier advice of the Advocate General. Among other things, the Supreme Court quashed the Court of Appeal's judgment that the Netherlands was the normal country of work for the Hungarian drivers.
Confirmation of right action
CEO Rico Daandels of Van den Bosch is pleased with the verdict: "The verdict of the Supreme Court confirms that we acted correctly and that the drivers have always been paid correctly." According to Daandels, the ruling once again proves the complexity of this matter – not only within this case, but sector-wide. The case is also bad for the image of the sector. “We are now ten years later and unfortunately have to conclude that the attitude and tone of the trade union FNV have had a polarizing and damaging effect on the sector.”
In the long-drawn-out case of ten Hungarian drivers against Van den Bosch Transport, the Supreme Court ruled today that the case must be assessed again by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is of the opinion that the Court of Appeal, which previously ruled that Hungarian drivers are entitled to Dutch collective labor agreement wages, has insufficiently motivated in its ruling why Dutch and not Hungarian law applies to the drivers' employment contracts. Another court must now rule on the case again and for the third time.
In a similar case against a company from Lithuania, the criminal court in Bruges ruled last Friday that drivers from Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus are entitled to Belgian wages because they actually work in Belgium. The Belgian court also immediately upheld individual claims of drivers, up to €69.000, who had registered in the proceedings. This case shows the effectiveness and the deterrent effect of the Belgian system.
Even the company's CEO, a former deputy transport minister from Lithuania, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence. However, in the Netherlands, companies such as Van den Bosch have so far escaped due to a slow legal process and government action that is not very deterrent.