Greeks Are the New Cheap Workers in Holland

netherlands greek workersIn Holland, there are many Greeks who work for many hours as unskilled laborers in greenhouses, farms, taverns and restaurants, while they are paid below the minimum wage rate, according to Greek newspaper I Efimerida.

There is a new generation of Greek immigrants in Holland, according to the newspaper, and while the number of Greek students and professionals in the Netherlands has increased due to the crisis, there is also an increase of unskilled workers coming from Greece who are now the “cheap hands.”

Even though the majority of Greeks who moved to Holland to work are skilled craftsmen who receive high salaries and good working conditions employed by big companies in the port of Rotterdam, there are also cases of people who lost their jobs in Greece and sought a better life in the Netherlands. They are mainly men from Northern Greece who now reside at inexpensive houses near their workplace, and work more hours than what they agreed upon.

For example, a couple from Crete used to own a tavern in Rethymno, which was not doing well due to the Greek economic crisis and in addition they were blackmailed by local ringleaders who were “selling protection.” So they decided to close their tavern. and they followed the suggestion of a Dutch customer of theirs to go and work for him in Alsmir where he was cultivating tulips. Now the couple lives at a bungalow park near the fields. They are happy with their situation even though they work more hours than they originally agreed, but at least they are always paid on time.

Most Greek workers in Dutch greenhouses usually work more hours than what their contracts state, and as a result they are paid well below the minimum wage rate which corresponds to 9.02 euros per hour for 38 hours of work per week and 8.57 euros per hour for 40 hours of work per week. Meanwhile, a lot of Greeks are unregistered workers and do not receive any insurance.