Polish ambassador to NL condemns migrant labour abuse

Polish flag with coat of arms
Photo: Wikipedia
Polish flag with coat of arms
Photo: Wikipedia

The Polish ambassador to the Netherlands has sounded the alarm about dodgy staffing agencies and the abuse of Dutch labour laws to exploit migrant workers in an interview with the AD.

The staffing agencies know exactly how to get round the rules and use temporary contracts to make the maximum profits out of foreign workers who often have to pay for a place to live, although they were promised free accommodation, Marcin Czepelak told the paper.

‘People are being brought to the Netherlands under false pretences and have to work here in poor conditions, while being excluded from Dutch society,’ he said.

Language – such as the use of the word Polenhotel to describe a lodging house for migrant workers – plays an important role in this, he said. ‘I’ve discussed it with my colleagues, but you only come across the word here,’ he told the AD.

The Dutch statistics agency CBS said earlier this year that workers from Poland, Romania and other eastern and central European countries earn the lowest wages of all immigrant groups.

Some 80% of the 180,000 Polish nationals working in the Netherlands earn less than €15 per hour and 18% of them earn less than €10, the CBS said.

And research published a year ago by government think-tank SCP said some 75% of Polish nationals living in the Netherlands have a job but they are much more likely than the Dutch to have temporary or flexible contracts, work long hours and do basic manual labour.

Staffing agency exploitation is the other side of the benefit scandal

Some 160,000 Polish nationals were registered as living in the Netherlands in 2017, making them the sixth biggest migrant group in the country, the SCP said. In addition, a further 90,000 come to the Netherlands periodically to do seasonal work.

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