Some 18% of 300 market garden companies in Westland visited by labour inspectors last year either employed illegal immigrants or broke minimum wage laws, according to social affairs ministry figures.
Westland is an area south of The Hague where a large part of the Dutch horticulture and greenhouse growing industry is concentrated.
The ministry has set up a special team involving its own inspectors, tax inspectors, immigration ministry officials and local authorities in an effort to clamp down on fraud and worker exploitation in Westland, which is known to be higher than elsewhere in the country.
‘There are still too many companies committing fraud,’ social affairs minister Henk Kamp said in reaction to the figures.
A year ago, 26% of firms inspected were found to be breaking the law. Nationwide, the figure is around 7%, the ministry said.
Kamp said the drop in fraud is good news for bonafide market gardeners which have to compete with firms which break the law. ‘But we still have a long way to go,’ he said.
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