Rotterdam firm under investigation for exploiting Argentine workers

Dutch privately-held trading and agribusiness company Nidera is under investigation in Argentina for using ‘slavery-like’ conditions on a maize plantation in Argentina, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.

The paper says the company is being investigated following a raid on the plantation on December 30. There, inspectors found 133 seasonal workers working in conditions ‘reminiscent of a concentration camp’, the paper quotes local health inspector chief Julio Caraballo as saying.
The workers ‘didn’t know where they were, were unable to leave, had no electricity or water and their cash-in-hand wages were heavily discounted for the supplies sold by the company at extortionate prices,’ according to local media reports.
The company, based in Rotterdam, has denied the allegations and says it kept within Argentine law at all times. The 19 minors found working on the plantation were all aged 16 to 18 and had permission from their parents, Nidera’s head of legal affairs Job Rietkerk told the paper.
According to Argentine newspaper reports, the company is also under investigation for tax evasion totalling 260 million Argentine pesos (€49m).

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