Farmer who ill-treated workers is repeated offender

19th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The asparagus farm owner paid his workers less than the minimum wage, did not allow them to leave the premises and had them sleep in a filthy room without windows.

Brabant – The owner of an asparagus farm in the province of Brabant is being investigated by the Social Intelligence and Investigation Service (SIOD) to see if criminal charges can be brought against him after 50 east European workers were discovered to be living in "near-slavery" conditions.

The SIOD - a body of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment charged with criminal investigations - had been given the go-ahead to raid the farm on Friday because the sleeping quarters were in breach of fire regulations.

It was discovered the workers, who are mostly from Romania, were not allowed to leave the premises and were sleeping in a filthy room without windows. The workers were also being paid less than the agreed wage.

The farm owner has already been fined five times by the labour inspectorate since 2005 for employing illegal immigrants, paying under the minimum wage and failure to report an on-site accident.

The fines amounted to more than EUR 500,000.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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