Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swedish Building Union Exclaims, "Slave Labor!"

This was taken from a story in the local newspaper that came out yesterday.  In Swedish the headline was, "Facket raser:  "Slavearbete"  In English it would read, "The Union exclaims, "Slave Labor".  This was from the October 27th issue of the Värmlands Folkbladet (VF).  Värmland is a province or county in middle Sweden.

For my Swedish readers, here is the link to the article:

Here is a link with all articles related to this story up to today, October 28th on this subject:

Now, for the English speaking and reading audience I will give a rough translation, at least enough for you to get the point and then I will tie this event into an article I read a few weeks back by a Canadian about the European Commision and their job politic.  Now, back to this story in middle Sweden.

The Building Workers Union Local  (Bygg 29:an) alleges that Laszo Bimbo in Munkfors, Sweden operates with slave labor.

"It is tragic that something like this happens this way," said Tony Kyrk, Union Rep for Bygg 29:an in Värmland County, Sweden.

Mr. Bimbo has been importing workers from Hungary and Romania promising them 10,000 to 14,000 swedish crowns per month, but in reality the workers are only paid a small procent of the promised wage.  In some cases according the the foreign workers themselves, they received a wage of 4,000 swedish crowns for 280 hours of work.  If you do the math, this comes out to 14 swedish crowns per hour, which is a little over 2 USD per hour.  The average salary of a building worker in this province is 26,000  swedish crowns per month and the minimun that can be paid as per the collective agreemnt is 146 swedish crowns per hour.

Mr. Bimbo also did not supply his workers with any work clothes or protective equipment which is the common work practice in Sweden.

Again, Mr Bimbo got his workers through a Employment Agency in Hungary and according to EU Law he is only obligated to respect the collective agreement from the country of origin where they are hired.   So, it is legal to pay a lower salary and I assume that nowhere in EU Law is it allowed to lure and deceive and cheat workers out of their agreed upon salaries which was 10,000 to 14,000 Swedish Crowns.

The Union planned to visit Mr Bimbo to ask him to explain his actions and I assume that not much but talk will come out of that meeting.  Mr Sture Hermansson from theHungarian Consul in Sweden said that he knew of Mr. Bimbo and there has been trouble before with him and what he is doing is nothing but human trafficing.

Again, we have a shell game.  I suppose with more involved the easier it is to shun one's responsiblity to keep one's agreements or to show leadership and make some decisions that result in real action taken.  We have the township involved, a union, a business owner in Sweden, a foreign business, the police, County government, and the Swedish State although they always manage to shun their responsibility, and the European Union.

To end this I will quote the comment of Mr. Kyrk, the Local Union Representative when he said, "Slavery was banned in Sweden 160 years ago but this even shows that slavery still continues to occur and this is Sweden."  Well, Mr Kyrk, perhaps you have not read of the Ukrainian, Thai, Chinese, or Vietnamese foreign workers who have been in the news for over a year involved in this game of human trafficing in which a few greedy and dishonest business men form alliances while government and regional authorities take a back seat and just allow these inhumane practices to occur over and over again.  Sounds like corruption to me on many levels.  Sounds like Corruption Swedish style at least as I have observed while living here.

Now for the article about the EC (European Commision) and it's strategy to lower wages in Europe.  Are these events in Sweden just isolated or is there a common stragy with int European Union?  You make your own assumptions.  Here is the link to the article:

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