‘There’s No Work to Be Found in Romania’
Author: Elena Stancu
This article is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here.
“Journalists writing for Teleleu.eu spent months interviewing Romanians working in strawberry fields in Huelva, Spain. The workers often live in squalid conditions, find themselves exploited by bosses, and are not always aware of their labour rights. They are not unlike many migrants from poor countries outside of Europe, and as journalist Elena Stancu argues in one of a series of seven articles, it is first and foremost poverty that makes them vulnerable, not their migrant status.
Most of them would work in far worse conditions in their homeland, so they choose to come and work in Europe’s richer countries and quietly accept exploitation because it is better than the alternative. So it is not enough to talk about the poor conditions at the lodgings in the strawberry fields. The problems of Romanians exploited in rich countries begin in Romania. We need to discuss this economic model, which Romania has been tolerating: its women work in Spain for four months out of 12 so their families can live in Romania for a year.”