Some 213 Ukrainian nationals living in the Netherlands have contacted anti-slavery organisation FairWork in the past year with concerns about not being paid, long working hours and low rates.
In 2022 as a whole, 173 Ukrainians were among the 1,200 people who reported to the agency, compared with just 17 in the previous year.
FairWork quoted the case of one middle aged Ukrainian man who started working in the construction sector without a contract, after finding a job online. He agreed to a wage of €12 an hour, and worked 240 in the first month. But at the end of the month he was sacked without pay, and was also told to leave the accommodation he had been provided with.
There are unfortunately employers who abuse vulnerable people who don’t speak our language or understand our culture, said FairWork’s Francien Winsemius. ‘They are fleeing war, they did not come here to work and they are not properly prepared. Some of them are also suffering trauma which makes them extra vulnerable.’
Oksana Savchuk who is coordinator at a drop in centre for Ukrainians in Rotterdam, told broadcaster NOS she gets an average of five visits a week from people who are being exploited by their employers.
‘They are facing the same problems as other migrant workers,’ she said. ‘They are recruited on social media and are told the paperwork will be sorted out. After a month of work, the paperwork has not been done and they are not paid.’
Some 30,000 Ukrainian nationals are thought to be working in the Netherlands, almost all on temporary or call-out contracts.
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