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– I do not get supplemental pay when I drive domestically in Norway. It is the first I’ve ever heard of this, says a Filipino freight driver, who has many domestic assignments in Norway.

– I do not get supplemental pay when I drive domestically in Norway. It is the first I’ve ever heard of this, says a Filipino freight driver, who has many domestic assignments in Norway.

Stein Inge Stølen

Working in Norway: Cabotage (kabotasje), minimum wage (minstelønn), wage theft (lønnstyveri)

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

Most drivers in foreign trucks who drive domestically in Norway, so called cabotage, are not paid the Norwegian minimum wage, according to checks done by the Labour Inspection Authority. Many could be entitled to large sums of money in back pay.

28.09.2021
09:02
28.09.2021 09:27

foreignworkers@lomedia.no

– If I ask for extra pay, I might get fired, says the Filipino freight driver we meet by the Fugleåsen rest stop outside of Oslo.

He does not want to reveal his name, because he fears it could affect the relation he has with his employer.

The long-distance driver from the Philippines works for an Eastern European company. He tells us that he gets paid 80 euros per day, no matter how many hours he works. 50 euros are a subsistence allowance to cover expenses on the road. Thus, the salary is in practice only 30 euros a day. With an average workday of 12 hours, the hourly wage is 25 Norwegian kroner (NOK).

Article in Polish: Zagraniczni kierowcy wykonujący kabotaż w Norwegii powinni otrzymywać norweską płacę. Często sami o tym nie wiedzą

Article in Lithuanian: Užsienio vairuotojai, kurie vykdo kabotažą Norvegijoje, turi gauti tokį pat užmokestį kaip ir norvegai, bet jie dažniausiai to nežino

Could multiply wages when driving in Norway

This might sound familiar to many drivers employed with Eastern European transport companies. But when driving domestically in Norway you should get paid a lot more.

Today, the statutory minimum wage for truck drivers in Norway is 185,50 kroner per hour. This equals about 18 euros. The pay for an average 12-hour shift would be close to 220 euros. And the subsistence allowance would come on top of this.

For the Filipino driver this would mean his pay would be multiplied by seven when he is driving domestically in Norway. However, he has never seen any of this money. The driver tells us that even though he regularly takes on freight assignments that both start and finish in Norway, so called cabotage, he never gets supplemental pay when doing so. If this is the case, his employer is breaking the law.

When FriFagbevegelse contacts the CEO of the company the driver is employed with, he denies that the employees receive illegally low wages.

– We have separated our drivers into different wage groups depending on where they drive. A driver who drives for us in Norway, has a substantially higher salary than someone who drives on the continent, claims Chris Lyman in the company Intercargo Scandinavia.

– Is it equal to – or higher than – the Norwegian minimum wage?

– It is.

You may also be interested in this article: These are the current minimum wages within nine industries in Norway

This is what you can do

Norwegian authorities have created a website with information about what foreign drivers are entitled to when driving domestically in Norway. This is available in several languages. You will find it here. (Please note that the minimum wage has increased since the website was published. It is now 185,50 kroner per hour.)

If you have been driving domestically in Norway as a foreign driver, so called cabotage, and have not been paid Norwegian wages there are ways to solve this. By contacting the crime unit at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration by email: krimtips@vegvesen.no and attaching documentation such as payslips, assignment orders, records of driving time and rest periods, it may be possible for Norwegian authorities to reveal the pay theft. In that case the drivers can also demand back pay for outstanding wages.

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

Employers can easily manipulate documentation

Whether or not Lyman is telling the truth Norwegian authorities will never know for sure. At least not the way the rules are laid out today. The reason for this is that the supervisory authorities rarely have the capacity or resources to check whether the documentation is forged. In practice, controlling the wages in foreign transport companies is a trust-based exercise.

– There is not always reason to trust what is being presented in a control context. If the documentation is sent by mail and not physically obtained by the authorities, there is no opportunity to check if this matches reality. And this makes cheating easy, says Per Herman Pedersen who is in charge of the crime unit at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen).

Previous supervision of Intercargo Scandinavia has shown that the drivers seemingly have the correct pay when driving in Norway. Even so, the crime unit is of the opinion that generally there is more reason to trust the employee’s explanation.

– Looking at motivation, it is probably reasonable to think that the employee is closest to the truth in such cases, and that the employer will have more to gain in competition terms by reducing salary costs, says Pedersen.

The article continues below the image.

Per Herman Pedersen with The Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s crime unit confirms that there is extensive underpayment of drivers driving cabotage in Norway.

Per Herman Pedersen with The Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s crime unit confirms that there is extensive underpayment of drivers driving cabotage in Norway.

Stein Inge Stølen

More articles in English:

These are the current minimum wages within nine industries in Norway

From 1 July 2021, everyone working within these industries has new statutory pay and working conditions.

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.

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

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> Skaitykite daugiau naujienų lietuvių kalba

28.09.2021
09:02
28.09.2021 09:27

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