They say they are being treated like slaves… Migrant workers in France demonstrate to demand an improvement in working conditions

“The company treats us like slaves, does not adhere to occupational safety and health standards, and does not provide us with masks or belts.” This was said by one of the company’s migrant workers on the occasion as dozens of them demonstrated in front of a waste sorting center in Paris, to demand improved working conditions.

Migrant workers gathered in front of a large garbage sorting center, run by the French company “Veolia”, in the capital, Paris, specifically in the 15th arrondissement, on Monday, August 28, to denounce their working conditions, especially since they have been working for years without official employment contracts and amidst unjust conditions.

The workers are not directly affiliated with the French company “Veolia”, as they work with the “NTI” company, which is responsible for their employment. Therefore, the workers’ decision was to stop working with that entity, emphasizing the importance of obtaining their rights.

The Moroccan worker, Hassan (48 years old), who worked for years at the intermediary company NTI, says, “We are here to make them respect our rights. We have not received any benefits for three years. We receive 800 euros a month, while the rent is no less than 500 euros.” … According to the “InfoMigrants” website.

The migrant workers explained that they work without protection, adding that the work is not easy, as they are not entitled to rest, and are obligated to work for hours and receive low wages, and they sometimes work to sort and process garbage that contains toxic materials.

Amin, a 23-year-old Moroccan worker, said: “When a colleague broke his shoulder after he fell on duty, he did not receive any salary from the company after he was injured and confined to bed.”

Another worker, Mustafa (35 years old), adds, “We are treated like slaves. We work without safety standards, without masks, without belts.” He added, “This negligence led to me suffering from eczema, allergies, and nasal pain.”

French employers exploit migrants by employing them without subcontracts, which exacerbates the violation of their rights to fair wages, vacations, and legally specified hours, and violates the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Immigrants constitute 10.2% of the total workforce in France, which numbered 30 million people as of 2017, according to the “Migrant Jobs” study, issued by the Department of Statistics (DARES) of the French Ministry of Labor in September 2021.

Immigrants work mainly in the professions of cleaning, construction, cooking, hotels and security, and their share in guard and security personnel jobs is 28.4%, in the fields of unskilled construction workers (construction, concrete and quarrying work) 27%, skilled construction workers 24.8%, chefs 22%, hotel and restaurant employees and supervisors. 19.3%, and cleaners 17.4%.

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