Cheap farm labor thrives

As foreign laborers working the strawberry fields in Manolada, near Patras, resumed their jobs following a four-day protest over their low salaries, media reports suggested that the problem of «slave labor» on farms is widespread. Hundreds of laborers returned to work after their employers reportedly raised their daily wages from 23 euros to 25 euros for Asian workers and 28 euros for Eastern Europeans. Both still fall below the legal daily minimum of 30 euros for unskilled workers. And there are fears that farmers will dock wages again once the farms are out of the spotlight. Meanwhile, private television Antenna reported from the asparagus fields of the Nestos Delta, northeastern Greece, where workers say they get just 20 euros for 12-hour working days. Miltos Pavlou of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights said the problem is the inflexibility of immigration laws as well as racism.

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