There is a great shortage of professional drivers in Sweden and throughout Europe today.
This means that as a haulage owner, you try to make use of every possible opportunity that is available in order to acquire new or extra staff. This has resulted in a situation that has become very costly.
It appears that some drivers have put in system to take advantage of the Swedish haulers.
The reason is that Swedish haulers pay very well, usually between two to four times the monthly salaries compared to other countries. Some drivers therefore take the chance to work as much as possible for a limited amount of time.
This system is inviting people to cheat. Because who wants to rest for 45 hours during the weekend in a country you’re only going to work in for a few months?
This is why scrupulous drivers borrow licenses from peers that are currently not in service on the Swedish market. Or even worse: they use counterfeit licenses.
This way, a driver can work on his own driver's license for a haulage during the weeks and thanks to a borrowed or forged licenses for another haulage on the weekends.
Here's an example of a scenario:
A previously unknown person to the hauler gets in touch and says that he is a driver and wants to drive extra on the weekends to earn some extra cash. The person concerned has a valid driver’s license and driver card. The haulage company has no opportunity to check whether the driving license and driver card are correct, because no authority responds to these types of inquiries for intergrity reasons.
The driver gets the assignment to work for a few weekends.
The problem for haulers arises when the Swedish Transport Agency does a corporate control, which I have written about in my latest blog posts.
In some cases, the Swedish Transport Agency finds that the driver's licenses and/or driver cards are fake or stolen, and require fines from the hauler for every time it has been used by the driver. It doesn’t take a lot of times before the sanction fees are up to 100 000 SEK.
When the hauler notifies the concerned driver, he or she can get upset and angry. "That’s not true, my papers are completely legal". The driver can prove his innocence.
When the haulage owner then raises this point in front of the Swedish Transport Agency, the sanction fees are written off in some cases. But in order to succeed with this, the haulage company must have a solid foundation of evidence. Therefore, it is no wonder that the law firms' fees to Swedish haulers have increased over the past year.
But since some haulers can deal with dozens of additional drivers within one year, it is difficult to confront all concerned drivers because they only worked a few weekends several months ago. It is impossible to find them to gain access to their evidence.
The haulage company can easily pay up to 100 000 SEK times nine drivers, i.e. 900 000 SEK.
The Swedish Transport Agency is careful to point out that they listen to arguments concerning each individual case. Therefore it is not surprising that haulers who contact lawyers to appeal often gets a reduction of their penalty fees to a certain extent. But as I already mentioned – the submission of evidence is always with the hauler.
Who can cope with running a business under such conditions?