230 euros for 60 hours’ work: gross misconduct by asparagus farm in Brabant

Photo by Ben Saanen

23 migrants working at an asparagus farm in De Peel, a region covering Brabant and Limburg, were treated with ‘gross misconduct’. This was stated by Inspectie SZW, a governmental inspectorate for working conditions.

According to the inspectorate, the workers were underpaid and their working days were far too long. Exactly which municipality the farm is based in has not been disclosed due to privacy reasons.

It was found that the migrants had to work long hours and long weeks. They started every day at seven o’clock in the morning and worked until at least six or seven o’clock in the evening. They did this for seven days a week. ‘That is really not allowed,’ says a spokesperson for Inspectie SZW.

The workers were also grossly underpaid. They received 55 cents for picking one kilo of asparagus. Most workers picked an average of 50 to 70 kilos per day, bringing their weekly wages to around 230 euros. The inspectorate refers to this method of payment as ‘per piece wage’, and says that it is prohibited.

‘Miserable’

Many migrants also had poor living conditions, living in caravans with no electricity. There were only two showers available for all of the migrants. ‘This situation is miserable,’ says the inspectorate. ‘The municipality that this farm falls under must ensure that the employer puts a stop to this form of housing.’

Among other sanctions, the employer can be fined for violating the rules of minimum wage and working hours.

 

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translator: Rachael Vickerman

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