A story about seasonal workers, exploitation and vulnerability
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.
This article tells the story of how social workers in Nuremberg helped three Romanians – Eleonora, Gabriela and Gabriel – get out of a crisis, after their employer fired them from his farm where they had been packing lettuce in a warehouse. They helped them get a job at a toy factory and rent a two-room apartment in the city. This was the first time they lived somewhere other than in accommodation provided by an employer.
Marius Hanganu of the Faire Mobilität support centre argues in the article that foreign workers are often dependent on the employer because of their accommodation, and sometimes end up sleeping rough after being let go at short notice, often in contravention of German labour rules. He says more efforts from Romanian institutions are needed, and a reform of the education system to help them read and write, which would make them less vulnerable to signing unfair contracts they do not understand.