Job insecurity, when not exploitation, is the daily life of some migrants who work in the fields. The irregular administrative situation in which many of them live exacerbates the problem and is a barrier to reporting. Two seasonal workers from the Maresme region (Barcelona) have obtained a sentence, advanced by Digital was born and to which elDiario.es has had access, in which a judge condemns a businessman for having them without a contract and throwing them out in retaliation for a labor inspection.
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The magistrate of the social court 1 of Mataró has sentenced the businessman who exploits the strawberry field to pay 21,000 euros to each of the two seasonal workers. The figure results from adding the salaries corresponding to the seniority of the two workers who worked without a contract at least since June 2020 and May 2021 respectively, in addition to the amount corresponding to the processing salaries between their dismissal in November 2021 and the holding of the trial in September of this year as well as compensation of 6,251 euros for damages.
The lawyer of the two young people, Laura Rull, has celebrated the sentence and has highlighted the difficulty of agricultural workers without a contract to prove their discrimination. The ruling recognizes that both young people were working without a contract when in June 2011 the Sant Pol de Mar strawberry farm was the subject of an inspection by the National Police and the Labor Inspectorate.
The two plaintiffs, the ruling abounds, were part of the eight farm workers who “ran away” before the Labor Inspection raid, precisely because they worked without a contract, work permit and residence. The businessman later consummated the dismissal as “retaliation” to the visit of the Inspection, concludes the magistrate.
But in addition, the judge abounds, the businessman “did not formalize a work contract or register with Social Security” for the two young people when they started working on the strawberry harvest. According to the plaintiffs’ version, the employer had promised them to regularize their administrative situation in exchange for working without a contract.
The judge orders that the dismissal of both temporary workers be null, and chooses to impose compensation on the employer given the impossibility of ordering their reinstatement due to the lack of a work and residence permit.
Despite the fact that the plaintiffs alleged that the employer subjected them to working hours of up to 60 hours per week, the ruling does not consider this proven and reduces them to 40 hours per week. “It is not accredited with the necessary probative force that [los demandantes] have been subjected to inhuman working hours”, indicates the resolution.