Many distribution centres flout safety rules: Inspectors

Distribution centres employ lots of cheap, foreign labour. Photo:

Many distribution centres in the Netherlands are breaking coronavirus rules and other safety norms as well as flouting rules regarding breaks and pay, social affairs ministry inspectors have found.

Some 200 centres were checked in 2020 because of multiple earlier reports of unsafe working conditions and seven out of every 10 distribution centres were found to break one or more rules, including social distancing, the NRC reported on Tuesday.

In some cases workers were paid below minimum wage and worked long hours under pressure, the inspectors said.

Distribution centres often rely on job agencies for staff, coordinator Philip Meijran told the NRC. ‘The bigger centres are organised but if there is a lack of people they will often turn to smaller and ‘shadier’ agencies,’ he said.

The current surge in online sales caused by the coronavirus measures has only increased the pressure on distribution centres. The inspectorate has announced  it will continue to keep an eye on both the distribution centres and meal delivery services to ensure rules are properly compiled with.

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