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Even though they were awarded compensation by the District Court, the 52 former employees now must wait even longer for a possible payment from Vlantana Norway.

Even though they were awarded compensation by the District Court, the 52 former employees now must wait even longer for a possible payment from Vlantana Norway.

Stein Inge Stølen

Truck drivers in a civil lawsuit against a former employer: wage theft (lønnstyveri), compensation, working in Norway

52 drivers sued and were awarded compensation. Vlantana Norway has appealed the ruling

Just before the summer, the district court sentenced the transport company Vlantana Norway to pay 16.3 million Norwegian kroner in compensation to 52 previously employed drivers. The company has appealed, and the drivers must wait for any compensation.

05.10.2021
09:33
11.10.2021 14:06

foreignworkers@lomedia.no

The transport company Vlantana Norge has been reported to the police for extensive and systematic underpayment of hundreds of employees over several years. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen) calls this wage theft. It estimates the transport company has earned approximately 28-39 million Norwegian kroner each year by not paying the drivers the wages they are entitled to.

Before the summer, 52 previous employees won against Vlantana Norge in the District Court. The drivers were awarded compensation of more than 16 million kroner. In the verdict, the leader of the board Vladas Stoncius Junior is held personally responsible.

On average, the drivers were awarded more than 300.000 kroner (NOK) in compensation. The largest single amount of compensation was close to 700.000 kroner.

The deadline for the appeal was in the middle of September. At the last minute an appeal was handed in by Vlantana Norge’s attorney. Thus, the drivers must wait even longer for any compensation.

Article in Polish: 52 kierowców wytoczyło powództwo i zasądzono im odszkodowanie. Jednak Vlantana Norge składa apelację

Article in Lithuanian: 52 vairuotojai iškėlė bylą ir teismas priteisė jiems kompensaciją. Dabar Vlantana Norge apskundė teismo nuosprendį

Replaced a member of the board

The 52 drivers are represented by attorney Lina K. Smorr from Andersen & Bache-Wiig. She is now working on a response to the appeal on behalf of her clients.

– The case is large in scope. It is somewhat surprising that the appeal appears to apply to all sides to the District Court's verdict. This could mean a new, costly, and lengthy process for the Court of Appeal, she says to FriFagbevegelse.

Previously, the transport company was legally represented by its board member Sandra Latotinaite. She has now been replaced by Ola Haugen from the firm Wikborg Rein, who sent the appeal on behalf of Vlantana Norge. Latotinaite left the board at the end of August. Neither she nor Ola Haugen wanted to comment on the latest development.

Related article: Foreign drivers who drive cabotage in Norway are entitled to Norwegian wages. Many of them do not know this

One of the largest transport companies in the country

Vlantana Norge was reported to the police by among others the Public Roads Administration and The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet) towards the end of 2019. This was done based on findings in an action earlier that same year. At that point, the company was one of the largest transporters in Norway, with a turnover of 280 million kroner and about 250 employees. On the list of customers was the large seafood company Mowi, and the logistics companies Postnord, Asko, and Schenker.

Minimum wages in Norway: Check what you are entitled to if you work in one of these nine industries

Blamed the drivers: – Disloyal passivity

During the court case earlier this year in Øvre Romerike District Court, Vlantana Norge’s management admitted to having falsified all its timesheets through several years. At the same time, the company’s then-attorney and board member Sandra Latotinaite claimed that the drivers themselves were guilty because they did not notify the authorities of what was going on.

– It is the clear opinion of the defendants that foreign workers who deliberately avoid speaking out about unacceptable working conditions contribute in the same way as the employer to work-related crime and distortion of competition in the Norwegian labour market. Thus, it appears reasonable and just that the plaintiffs’ disloyal passivity has consequences for the outcome of this case, she said in her closing statement.

When the drivers’ attorney has delivered the appeal response, the Court of Appeals will decide whether the appeal is valid or if it should be rejected. If it is found valid, the date for a new court case will be set.

More articles in English:

Temporary worker Isaac did not get the pay he was entitled to. This is how he earned 14 kroner more per hour

In Norway workers employed through temp agencies are entitled to the same pay as workers employed directly by the company that hires them. Equal treatment secured offshore worker Isaac 14 kroner more per hour.

What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement (tariffavtale) is a written agreement between workers organised within a trade union (fagforening) and either an employers’ organisation or a single employer. The collective agreement provides a standardised arrangement for pay and working conditions.

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Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

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05.10.2021
09:33
11.10.2021 14:06

FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

Please share the articles with colleagues and friends.

Got a story to tell? Contact us: foreignworkers@lomedia.no

> Read more news in English

> Więcej wiadomości po polsku

> Skaitykite daugiau naujienų lietuvių kalba