Spain: Immigrant labourers, families suffer from greenhouse bankruptcy

130 Moroccan workers are carrying out the occupation after their employer, who, unbeknownst to the labourers, had been subject to a bankruptcy proceeding for the past year, abandoned them and escaped. Dozens of families were left without any sustenance and are owed several years salary with severance pay amounting to nearly two million. In this situation of social and labour helplessness the immigrant workers in the Field Workers Union (SOC- SAT ) decided not to accept their dismissal nor the threats of eviction from their homes and jobs, by keeping most of the land under their control.

Besides filing labour demands, the union has denounced numerous irregularities that have occurred over the past year. Some of these irregularities include the lack of notice of the initiation of the bankruptcy process to the workers, who as a result were unable to file their claims in said process (they never found out what was happening since the farm was always administered by the same employer), the pressure to sign payroll and irregular settlements, as well as the filing of a fictitious company of the entrepreneur's son in law to which all contracts were passed during the last months before the dismissal.

Currently 16 acres that are still in the bankruptcy process continue to be occupied and, starting August, the workers have begun cleaning and preparing a first hectare so they can plant vegetables. The idea is to provide food for the families and the members and partners of the association created under the name of Almeria's Labourers Without a Boss, which manages the maintenance of the occupied lands. The Association and the Field Workers Union (SOC), have asked the bankruptcy administration and the Commercial Court, the legal transfer of the greenhouses for the years that the settlement process takes so that a Labourers' Union can exploit it and, were any company to lease the part of or all the farms during this process, said company would be forced to hire laid-off workers with all their legal benefits.

According to the Union, this occupation by workers and SOC-SAT members aims, "not only to correct the unfair situation in which these families have been left, but also to denounce the social and labour exploitation that oppresses more than one hundred thousand labourers of Almeria's agroindustrial model and to fight for an alternative system of production and self-management in agriculture. The courage and struggle displayed by these immigrants, many of whom are undocumented, is a very important example for the entire working class that is under a brutal attack to curtail their basic rights. We ask for all the possible support for this very dignified and fair fight that SOC-SAT workers are having at the farm against the unscrupulous employers' speculation that seeks to deprive the Andalusian labourers of the natural resources needed to survive."

Source: Tercerainformacion

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