Vlantana position regarding the recent media attention on Lithuanian transport sector
With this letter, we would like to inform you, and at the same time address any possible concerns about the problems of the international freight transport sector that were published in the public sphere in recent days and in the context of which Vlantana is mentioned by name.
In mid-April of this year, a team of Lithuanian journalists investigated on the working conditions of immigrant drivers in Lithuanian transport and logistics companies. The results of this investigation were shown in a TV program on social media channels in Lithuania. The authors have released mentioned TV program with subtitles in English and other languages.
Please note, that Vlantana was also contacted in order to address targeted questions raised by the authors of the TV program prior it has been released. We are confident that we did address the questions openly and in addition, we have explicitly declared that we will maintain further openness and transparency should the authors have any additional questions. Best to our knowledge, questions were also received by other major transport and logistics companies in the country. The Lithuanian National Road Carriers’ Association LINAVA, representing Lithuanian carriers, also provided detailed answers in an interview with the authors of the program.
Prior to the aforementioned interview, Road Carriers’ Association LINAVA representative kindly requested the authors of the program to confirm in written and guarantee that representative’s answers would be provided accurately and in full, without splitting the answers into separate fragments. Unfortunately, the authors did not find a way to comply with this kind request and left at their discretion only a small fraction of the answers provided.
Herewith, we ensure that we are not indifferent to the publicly expressed concerns related to the international transport and logistics sector and we strongly oppose any non-compliance with the legislation.
The following is a detailed position of Vlantana on the specific targeted concerns to dispel any misinterpretations that can be erroneous with respect to us during the assessment of the content in the general context of the mentioned TV program. We would also like to emphasize that we have openly communicated the following key points to the Lithuanian media channels, which also have asked us to clarify this situation.
Vlantana strongly opposes any non-compliance with the legislation and adheres to the following principles:
- Regarding driver’s working conditions. Focus on the working conditions of our employees is a priority. Drivers coming from Lithuania and other countries are treated equally and respectfully, no forms of discrimination or exploitation are tolerated. We have insured all employees of our company, including drivers. Employee insurance coverage covers all potential risks related to the provision of health care when employee is on duty. TIt also covers the transportation of the employee to the state and specified address of the residence in case of illness or accident.
- Regarding the vacation. Every employee receives paid annual leave as it is stated in the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania. Paid annual leave to which every employee is entitled is granted in full by paying of the employee’s average salary, in accordance with the provisions in the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania. Meanwhile, unpaid leave is granted only at the request of the employee and with the consent of the employer in the situation when the employee has exhausted all accrued paid leave days, but still asks to have leave days.
- Regarding the adherence to driving and rest time regulations. Drivers’ work is organized in accordance with EU regulations on driving and rest periods. In compliance with applicable EU legislation on weekly rest of 45 hours or more, Vlantana drivers take such rest in the premises leased by the Company in Lithuania and other European countries or in motels if the stop occurs away from the available premises.
- 4. Regarding the obligations of the employer. The Company, as a responsible employer, duly fulfills its contractual obligations, ensuring that the applicable legal regulations would not be violated and that the contractual obligations arising from the employment relationship are fulfilled in full, and in a timely and proper manner.
- Regarding the operational transparency. Our activities are licensed, constantly inspected and controlled by a number of state institutions – both Lithuanian and those of other European countries. Our customers also perform scheduled and/or unannounced audits on a regular basis. Furthermore, we operate in accordance with ISO standards, according to which we are regularly audited by independent and recognized international auditors. The findings of the audits prove both the adherence to applicable legislation and socially responsible way of business operations.
- Regarding the salary payments. In our company, cash transactions for the payment of salaries and per diem amount only to 0.1% of all salary payments and this is only in exceptional cases at the request of the driver. 99.9% of salaries and per diem are paid via electronic bank transfer.
- Regarding the risk management. No deductions are made from drivers to compensate for possible future damage. Damage that is associated with possible damage to or loss of trucks, cargo, or other property is a business risk. The latter risk is managed by concluding insurance contracts. The fleet is insured with both compulsory civil and voluntary CASCO insurance. In this way, we have full control over the risks associated with damage to or loss of vehicles and the damage that the driver could cause to third parties or to the property of third parties. The company has thus insured its civil liability as a carrier, thus covering all risks related to cargo.
- Regarding the commencement of drivers’ work with the assigned vehicle. Vlantana organizes cargo transportation and logistics operations in two ways only. The first is when drivers with assigned vehicles start directly from the company’s base in Klaipėda (Lithuania). The second – from the port of Kiel (Germany), which is reached by ferry Klaipėda – Kiel.
If you have any further questions, please contact us immediately.
Tomas Stonys, CEO of Vlantana PJSC