Yesterday a shocking article appeared in the newspaper Brabants Dagblad (BD). It described and showed how a manager of employment agency Reyhan beats up and kicks a Romanian migrant worker who is employed by that agency. Most likely the assaulted man worked for Vion.
The assault took place in a chalet of the employment agency at resort De Molenheide in Schijndel, according to the BD. We also know the following: The manager was the son of the owner of the employment agency. The owner fired the manager (his son): "Whatever preceded it, I can't accept that my son did this. But he also calls it "a private matter". That the manager was fired immediately is the least that should be done. Currently, the trade union FNV is investigating the matter, a report has been made to the SZW, the Labour Inspectorate, and the police are informed.
There are a few puzzling things about this history. First of all: the mistreated Romanian worked for that scary employment agency Reyhan, which has been in the news before because of mistreatment and harassment of employees. It also turned out that Reyhan rented out 22 beds in a house that they arranged for workers. Knowing all this, why was Vion even still working with this agency?
Surprisingly, the abused man still appears to be employed by Reyhan. Has he been pressured? What is keeping him from leaving immediately for safer places? The affected man doesn't want to talk himself, neither does any of the other Romanians in the complex where the worker lived. As we know, fear and intimidation are rampant in this sector.
FNV researcher John Klijn says: "I'm not really surprised, but you rarely get such news on tape. Usually we have to rely on stories, which are usually immediately denied by those involved. Everyone is scared, so you never have any witnesses". So now we do, because through this video we have all become witnesses.
There are also questions for the horrific meat companies to which Reyhan supplies temporary workers. After all, abuse at the employment agencies is also abuse at the companies that hire the workers, including Vion. Slaughterhouse Vion immediately announced that they were terminating their relations with Reyhan: "we do not allow this. This does not fit in with our business operations", said Vion.
Transparency please! Did the Romanian really worked for Vion? At which location? And we have more questions: how does Vion select the employment agencies from which it hires workers? Do they use any criteria? Today we hear about an assault of a migrant worker. In July we dealt with the dismissal of Alex, also a Romanian migrant worker, who got injured at work. In Alex' case, another employment agency was involved: Mahevia. The agency also didn't pay for the one and a half day Alex had worked. Only after pressure from Shut Down VION!, Alex got his rightfully owned money. But certainly not by merit of Mahevia.
We wonder is there exist also employment agencies that don't put migrant workers in sheds, mistreat them, unfairly dismiss them and refuse to pay salary? If so, which ones? And why doesn't Vion work with these? And isn't it just time to radically end the entire institution of "flex work"? If Vion needs personnel for their dangerous, dirty and bad work, let them take responsibility themselves and do business directly with the people who do that work by contracting them. In Germany, Vion now has to employ its workers directly. Why is that not possible in the Netherlands?
In the meantime it is important to keep an eye on the situation. Reyhan can't just get away with dismissing a manager and pretending the case is closed. Vion cannot just get away with ending their relationship with Reyhan. Migrant workers, like everyone else, have the right to a safe workplace and decent working conditions. Migrant workers also have the right, just like everyone else, to decent housing. Migrant workers who are victims of the miserable working, employment and living conditions should know that they are not alone.