The managing director of Norbert Dentressangle’s Transport Division, Hervé Montjotin, has reiterated the company’s adherence with transport legislation in Europe following investigations earlier this month made by French authorities at four of the logistic providers premises in the east and south-east of the country.

The calls were initiated by French border police looking into suspect working practices involving Romanian truck drivers who are reported to have been brought to France to work at Norbert Dentressangle’s depot in Motte-Servolex.

The authorities claim that the drivers were given trucks to drive under the pretext they were carrying out international transport operations for the company while they were working exclusively in France.

Norbert Dentressangle was accused by a member of the border police speaking on French radio in June of acting illegally in failing to declare the workers and breaking French labour legislation because the drivers were allegedly only paid €1.44 net per hour for a 56- hour week when the minimum legal rate for a French driver was around €10 net per hour for a maximum working week of 48 hours

Asked about the investigation, the company confirmed that the authorities had visited four of its French sites to verify its European sub-contract agreements and said it had co-operated fully in providing them with all the information requested. The sites visited by officials were Sevrey (Saone-et-Loire), Chambéry (Savoie), Saint-Rambert-d'Albon (Drôme) and Semécourt (Moselle).

The company said that its Romanian and Polish drivers worked on international routes in full conformity with the law and that it is continuing to develop its transport activity at a European level in an integrated fashion, with 15,000 employees in 14 countries.

“We scrupulously respect both local and European transport legislation and are committed to the very highest levels of safety, training and quality throughout our organisation,” said Montjotin. “As the European market leader, we are regularly audited by the authorities, either on the road or on our sites, both in France and in the other countries where we have a presence.”

In 2006 Norbert Dentressangle acquired Romanian haulage firm Transcondor and began transferring drivers to work in France.

The following year the company took over British transport and logistics provider, Christian Salvesen, go doubling its size and turning it into one of the leading European players in the sector with operations extending across 16 countries in Europe and 50% of its workforce employed outside of France.

Staff unions are reported to have denounced the company’s use of low-cost drivers from eastern Europe. The company has said only that it would like to reaffirm the priority it gave to the respect of employees and said that team engagement was at the heart of its organisation.