Regarding the Labor Inspection’s response to the farm workers of Manolada
(Field worker in a burnt greenhouse in Manolada after the fire. Photo by Generation 2.0 RED)
On the 5th of September 2018, 164 farm workers from Bangladesh and Pakistan, who were victims of the fire that broke out in the makeshift camp in Nea Manolada on 7/6/2018, submitted through the legal aides of Generation 2.0 RED an application-petition to the Central Service of the Labor Inspection. This petition was also shared with the Ministry of Migration Policy, the Ombudsperson, the office of the National Rapporteur against human trafficking, the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Commission for Human Rights.
The requests of the application were that the competent authorities: a) conduct field inspections to identify violations of labor law and insurance laws in agricultural crops as open-air harvesting b) ensure that victims will receive extraordinary financial assistance c) provide decent housing in humane and sanitary circumstances d) establish a more efficient legislative procedure for the granting of seasonal work e) take all appropriate measures to remove the conditions for the development of trafficking phenomena for the purpose of labor exploitation.
To these requests the Labor Inspection Body responded on the 5th of December, that the equivalent regional services organised on the 11th of October a visit, in order to conduct inspections, in which they found no violations of labor law. And, how could they? Due to the seasonal crop of strawberries, at the time of the visit there were not many workers in the area and therefore no faming activity in place. Furthermore, both services commit to revisit the area. It is worth noticing, that the directorate of Health and Security identifies itself as not competent to audit the living conditions of the farmers.
Today, five years after the infamous attack against the migrant farm workers and 6 months after the fire that destroyed almost all the belongings of the workers residing there, the situation that the said service ignores, has not ameliorated the slightest. It has not, even if the Ministry of Labor declared intense presence of the labor inspection in the area, ratification of the 129 ILO convention and provision of economic aid to the affected migrants. None of the above has happened until today. On our last visit in the area on the 5th of December, we came across the building of a new makeshift camp out of plastic and canes.
We urge the Labor Inspection and all competent authorities to prioritize this case, even at this moment that Greece is under close supervision by CoE and move towards the improvement of the living and working conditions of this group, which is particularly vulnerable to exploitation. We are at their disposal, in order to indicate to them the exact locations of their inconceivable living spaces and dangerous transport practices. The season of strawberry farming has already begun and is going to intensify from next month on. They must seize the opportunity to conduct timely inspections in the area and proceed, in order to avoid perpetuating the shameful situations that we have been witnessing all these years.
(Manolada’s improvised camp next to the tents that were given to the field workers after the fire by the Ministry of Labor.
Photo by Generation 2.0 RED, 5/12/2018)
(The inner part of the new camp depicts unacceptable living conditions. Photo by Generation 2.0 RED)
(Photo with early strawberries inside the greenhouse. Photo by Generation 2.0 RED, 5/12/2018)