Last week the National Police arrested the owner of a company in the town of Zamudio (Bizkaia) for an alleged crime against workers’ rights. Agents of Group I of the Provincial Brigade of Foreigners and Borders of Bilbao, together with officials of the Provincial Labor and Social Security Inspection, carried out a joint investigation in the company, located in the Ugaldeguren Industrial Estate, after days before several employees voluntarily go to the Bilbao National Police Station to report their situation and the working conditions in the ship.
According to the testimony collected by the Police and that ‘El Correo’ has advanced, the complainants explained that they worked without a contract because, since they did not have a residence permit, “their boss had not formalized any contract”, and that they received a salary from five euros per “effective” hour of work. In addition, they reported that if they suffered a work-related accident and required medical service, the owner of the company “instructed them not to mention either the company or the place where they had suffered the injuries.” The complaint also states that “occasionally” the boss subjected them to what he himself called a “marathon”: working from 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 in the morning the next day with only one free hour to eat and with the obligation to remain locked up overnight in the company’s facilities, dedicated to the handling and packaging of food.
Given the seriousness of the statements and after verifying the veracity of what was narrated by the victims, the Police investigators chose to grant them the status of protected witnesses, in order to avoid possible reprisals, and last Tuesday a labor inspection was carried out in the company under investigation. In it, a total of eight workers were identified, four of them without residence permits and without a work contract, for which the business owner was arrested, who, in addition to the crime against the rights of his employees, faces a possible financial penalty of more than 70,000 euros for having violated labor and social security legislation. After declaring in police stations, the accused has been released and is obliged to appear before the judicial authority that is instructing the case.