A2 builder will not pay back all expenses claimed from Portuguese workers

The building consortium responsible for the A2 tunnel near Maastricht will not refund all the living costs deducted from the wages of foreign workers involved with the project after all.

Instead, workers who had nearly €1,000 a month deducted from their wages for housing and travel, will get back around €400 for each month they have worked on the project, the consortium said on Tuesday.

There is no legal requirement to pay back any of the money, Avenue2 director Bauke Lobbezoo told local broadcaster L1.

Lobbezo also said the foreign labourers’ working hours are now being closely monitored and they have all now been brought under Dutch employment law.


In November, an independent report into union claims found no evidence the men were being exploited. While mistakes had been made, there is no question of exploitation or slavery ‘in a legal sense or a social sense’, the researchers are quoted as saying.

However the report did state the official pay and conditions agreements were not being adhered to and that it is unclear if Rimec is legally allowed to deduct money for housing and transport – money which was paid to another firm closely allied to Rimec itself.

In addition, the men paid too much for these expenses and were working 50 hours a week which is too long, the report said. A court reportedly later absolved the consortium and Rimec of breaking the law.

Rimec is a subsidiary of Irish staffing agency Atlanto Rimec, which provides Eastern European workers for construction projects across Europe, local newspaper De Limburger said.

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