Saturday 26 September 2020

Asparagus farmer faces fines for paying pickers 55 cents a kilo

An asparagus farmer from the south east of Brabant has been exploiting 23 ‘labour migrants’ by paying them per kilo of asparagus they cut and putting them up in caravans without electricity, social affairs ministry inspectors said on Friday.

The inspectors were alerted to the situation by local council officials but did not say where the farm was located or which company was involved.

The 23 people found at the site said they were required to work seven days a week and often 12 hour days. They were working without a contract and did not have health insurance.

The workers were paid 55 cents for every kilo they picked, even though piece work is illegal in the Netherlands. This meant they earned around €230 a week, picking up to 70 kilos of asparagus a day. Farmers earn up around €7 per kilo of asparagus.

The group lived in caravans without electricity and with two showers between them. There was no fridge and little in the way of cooking facilities.

The farmer can expect fines for breaking minimum wage and working hour rules, the inspectors said.

In 2011, an asparagus farmer in Brabant was sentenced to three years in jail for 33 infringements of minimum wage and employment legislation and for employing illegal immigrants.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.