Council of State tears up fines for ‘illegal Macedonian workers’

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Social affairs minister was wrong to fine five companies for using foreign workers to build a railway bridge over the IJssel river, the Council of State said on Wednesday.

Rail operator ProRail, two Dutch companies, a German firm and one from Macedonia were each fined €552,000 after inspectors found 62 workers from Macedonia and Bulgaria working on the project in 2009 and 2010.

The social affairs ministry argued the men were employed by the Macedonian firm and should have had a work permit to be employed on projects in the Netherlands.

The companies, however, insisted the men were employed via the German firm and did not therefore need a work permit. The Council of State on Wednesday agreed with the reasoning and said the minister had not proved they were employed by the Macedonian company.

In addition, the workers had German residency permits which allowed them to travel and work throughout the European Union, the court said.

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