Complaints about the poor working conditions of unskilled Spanish workers hired in the Netherlands by temporary employment agencies (ETT) will be analyzed on April 11 by the European Labor Authority and the Inspection Service, in the European Parliament. They have also reached the Dutch media, which have devoted several reports to the subject. At present, flexible employment of all kinds is around 40% in the country, while 60% is distributed among those considered stable, according to the Confederation that brings together 65% of companies in the sector of ETT (ABU, in its acronym in Dutch). The data shows the good health of the national economy, and fits into a society prone to self-regulation, but the complaints of the workforce captured in Spain, one of its main niches, along with Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, reveal their cracks .
According to the largest Dutch union (FNV), "much of the work that is offered through temporary employment agencies It is not necessarily temporary. " "Even when there is enough work, it is opted for to lower labor costs as much as possible. The collective agreement for ETT employees that we have negotiated with ABU and NBBU [Asociación Holandesa de Mediación y Compañías de Empleo Temporal] It can improve. Not all employers are decent with their employees. The worker is not always guaranteed enough hours to earn a good salary, and they still have to pay for their accommodation. Without forgetting that the boss can send them home because they are only paid for the hours they work, even if they have to be available, "says Karin Heynsdijk of FNV Flex.
Along with the payrolls that do not always fit, the lack of job security is a frequent complaint in this type of jobs among Spaniards. To the point of moving beams without a helmet, or receiving an industrial footwear that does not protect. The medical insurance, mandatory and about 100 euros per month, should cover any eventuality, but it is not like that. In addition, extraterritorial workers are not usually enrolled in the consultation of a general practitioner, and do not receive the health card. As they also do not reside near the urban centers, reaching the doctor is complicated.
Lázarus, the name chosen by a young man from Madrid, aged 22, to tell his story, worked almost three months for Giant, the Taiwanese bicycle brand with a factory in Holland. Recruited by Tempo Team, once in his position they gave him boots that were not suitable for his job: to drive a truck between 2 and 3 tons. "A friend of mine got to lose three fingers just a few weeks before, and cautiously, I bought a better boots. The wheelbarrow that was operating was old and did not have the security button of the modern ones. I went down, brushed a pedal and it passed over my foot. My good boot was destroyed. It had a cut that covered a whole finger, bleeding. After the accident, two days passed until I received some medical attention, and I had to return a third to see the insurance doctor. I still had my foot without sewing, and all for not working in conditions. After two weeks of leave, they paid me, but less than agreed: they owe me the holidays and 0.60 cents more than euro per hour, for carrying the vehicle for a month ".
Jurriën Koops, director of ABU, indicates that "Polish workers have more than a decade of experience in this sector, and are present at certain levels of management; The arrival of the Spaniards It's more recent. " "But we must improve the information on working conditions, and the TEAs must comply with the agreement. If they do not do it, Spaniards can claim – in Spanish – through the SNCU website, the agency in charge of inspecting them, "he says. Accommodation, however, one of the recurrent claims, is usually in the hands of subsidiaries, because the temporary agencies tend to exclude it from the agreement and leave the rent in the hands of third parties.
The Dutch Government believes that temporary work, in all its modalities, will increase in the future, and that is why Wouter Koolmees, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, has presented a significant title project: Law for a Balanced Labor Market. "It's about fixed employment being a little less, and the same thing happens with flexible," he said. In other words, the dismissal is somewhat easier with stable contracts, and a little more difficult in the temporary. The Congress and the Senate are studying it.
Coexistence in campsites, hotels, holiday parks or group homes, whose management is left by temporary employment agencies ETT in the hands of subsidiary firms, is not always easy. In some cases, the situation has resulted in harassment and injuries.
Among those affected is a Romanian Hispanic couple who prefers to remain anonymous, and were recruited in Romania by Cervo, an ETT that operates in the Netherlands. In his second residence, a hotel, the wife was harassed by two workers of Romanian nationality "who did nothing but drink and behave with impudence," he says. "One day, my husband told them to leave me alone and one of them hit him and pushed him. In the fall, my husband broke his arm and wounded in the ear. But the most surprising thing happened later. The police arrived and did nothing. When I told him, an agent shouted back to me to go to sleep: then I recorded him with the mobile phone and threw him on the floor. When I picked it up, I kept recording and he turned around. To my surprise, he took me by hair and dragged me to the ground. To a friend who tried to defend me, she did the same to him, and the police colleagues had to take him away. We have tried to put several complaints against the police, without success. The aggressor was fired by Cervo, but so are we. "
The case of Ramón Blanco is different. He contacted ETT Günes while in the Netherlands. He had an accident at work supposedly neglected by the temporary company, which has marked his life. "Four years ago, I worked at the Hellema cookie factory, cleaning heavy machinery with pressurized water. I alone and in a large room, something forbidden now. The floor was full of butter and chocolate, and there was a metal ladder that slipped and crushed my left hand against a metal table. It broke the tendons of my little finger, but since it did not seem broken, I had to finish my shift. When something like that happens they have to pay your salary and look for another suitable job, but I signed a deceptive document. Günes' doctor said it was to go back to work because everything was fine with his hand. I was then in other places and I aggravated the injury. The operation did not go as expected and now it hurts to my wrist, I can not work. The accident has never been properly compensated, I receive 117 euros per week "