The extent of years of exploitation of thousands of foreign land workers by landowners in Nea Manolada Ilias, tolerated by local magnates and the state, was confirmed by the producers’ applications to OAED [Manpower Employment Organization] demanding for the new season 4000 workers.
The demand for workers proves that during the last few years the majority of big producers of strawberry was using and exploiting in the most cruel way, a whole city of foreign land workers who were working in the fields and in the greenhouses from dawn until dusk at a day rate of 10-15 euros, an amount that many of them would not even receive.
Members of the tripartite government coalition and party officials in Ilia, after the applications of the strawberry producers to OAED, talk about an ‘oasis’ in the ‘desert’ of greek unemployment that could solve the problem of unemployment in Ilia and the broader region. The producers say that the payrate for those employed will be 25 euros including pension scheme for 6 hours of work, five days a week.
Foreign workers in the region see these ‘moves’ as sensationalist which have little to do with reality and they note that the enforcement of the day rate and the six hours shifts would require that they are legals and have the necessary documents. However, most of them are in the country illegally and this, as they say, works for the advantage of those who want cheap labor to get the job done and may even not pay in the end.
Article translated from ‘Eleftherotypia’ newspaper, 10/06/2013. Found online at: http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.ellada&id=368848