“The Roma population is particularly mistreated in agriculture, not only by the employer, but also by a gang that is taking them through southern Macedonia, to Gevgelia, Bogdanci, Valandovo, Strumica, Dojran…12-year-old children are working, peeling onions, preparing Ajvar, and we are buying it from the markets”, accused Zivko Danevski, leader of the Agro Trade Union at the conference “Society Without Borders”, which organized by CIVIL- Center for Freedom was held on Tuesday at Hotel City park in Skopje.
According to Danevski, this is happening in 34 companies that process vegetables, fruits and green grocery products. He called on the Labour Inspection to find these children in the yards of the companies where, as he said, an “entire Roma family”, together with the father and mother, are peeling onions and peppers for us to eat afterwards”.
“The issue of seasonal workers in agriculture, construction, the restaurant service and tourism is also raised…those workers are not protected. In the Program of the current Government there are some points that have been noted, for which we would like to discuss in the future. We will also demand for Article 32 of the Constitution to be respected. Workers have a right to work and social security, an employment contract and a Collective agreement. Only in this way the workers can be protected and be able to sit down and negotiate with the employer”, said Danevski.
“First of all, we have switched from a five-day workweek to working 24/7, the way the previous government was working. Secondly, in 2008, the Minister of Finance added food and transportation for the public sector, whereas workers were left out. Back then, employees received 5.500 denars for food and transportation, and now, if this amount is deducted from their salary, of 10.080 denars, we can see for how much money these workers work for. According to the law, the inspector is obliged to ask from the employer to see an employment contract and Collective agreement, and only after that to ask for all other elements. There are no records of hours worked in overtime”, said Danevski.
Camera: Dehran Muratov and Atanas Petrovski
Editing: Еrmin Klimenta
The statement/address at the conference is part of the project “Society Without Borders”, which CIVIL – Center for Freedom is implementing with the support of the German Heinrich Bὅll Foundation. The goal of the project is to promote and educate the citizens of Macedonia about the Citizen’s Charter, a global document for promoting civil rights and active participation of citizens in decision-making processes.