Georgian seasonal workers in Germany complain of working conditions, low salaries
Georgians who came to Germany with the state seasonal employment programme complain of hard working conditions, Georgian Formula TV channel reports.
The report states that the workers’ wages were three times less than what was specified in the contract.
Food is also a problem: “We started work at six in the morning. We were only fed at eight o’clock in the evening”, says one of the workers.
Workers also complain about living conditions saying that up to 24 people live “on a few square meters”. As they point out, this is contrary to what was written in the contract:
“This is two percent out of a hundred of my expectations. Personally, I was deceived. In the contract, we were promised 9.5 euros per hour and six working days a week. Upon arriving here, we found out that we will be paid three euros per hour. We only worked for four hours and we started at six in the morning”.
Georgian workers in Germany appealed to the Georgian Employment Promotion Agency and the Georgian Consulate in Germany for help, but the agency did not respond until 11 days after the story was broadcast.
The agency says it fully shares the concerns expressed by one of the groups that left for Germany for seasonal employment:
“Like all initiatives, at this stage of the implementation of the agreement, there are both positive responses and individual issues that need to be resolved with the German side. We confirm that there was dissatisfaction on the part of representatives of one group due to the employer’s violation of the conditions proposed in the work description. After receiving the information, the Georgian State Employment Promotion Agency contacted the German side and, for its part, the German Federal Employment Agency got involved in resolving the issue, along with other relevant departments but it took several days”.
The agency stated that if the German employer does not fulfill the promise of hourly wages, the Georgian side will demand the redistribution of workers from this group among other employers.
“It is necessary to demand a response from the employment agency that signed the contract. When a certain amount is specified in the contract but in reality, people are paid 2 euros or 2.50 euros per hour, we must definitely demand an answer”, said Levan Simonishvili, president of the Georgian Association of Emigrants.
The first groups of workers left Georgia for Germany on April 1. Despite the fact that there are up to 100,000 people willing to participate in the seasonal employment program, so far only 54 people have gone to Germany.
The German Ambassador to Georgia stated that Georgia is the first country with which Germany has started working in this direction.
The ongoing program offers seasonal work opportunities in the agricultural sector. In other words, citizens of Georgia will mainly be engaged in harvesting various seasonal crops.
The program also regulates the duration and conditions of employment – citizens of Georgia will only stay in Germany for 1-3 months. Under the original contract, they were supposed to work five or six days a week, 8-10 hours a day.