Denmark: Employers abuse asylum-seekers

Do you need cheap employees at your cafe, laundry or at your building site? They you could consider an asylum seeker for 30 kroner an hour. But there's a drawback: it's under the table and illegal, and DR can now reveal, that many Danish employers abuse asylumseekers.

During the election campaign it was one of the hottest political questions whether asylum seekers have a right to work and live outside the asylum centers. But they already work, shows hidden camera footage prepared by magazine 21 SØNDAG.

In the footage we meet among others a man from asylum center Kongelunden, who says that he works illegally in a cafe in Copenhagen. And he's far from the only one, says 21 SØNDAG.

Asylum seekers defy a ban and risk jail and expulsion from Denmark and end in the arms of employees without any scruples, that pay them barely 30 kroner an hour (< $6) to do some of the country's most filthy work.

21 SØNDAG shows laundry business A-vask, who on hidden camera, instruct asylum seekers in what they should say is the authorities show up for an unannounced visit.

Minister of Employment Claus Hjort-Frederiksen is angry at the employers. He says that it will be smashed and the harder the better. It's just so coarse, that words can barely describe it. He says that there's nothing that justifies employing people "under the table" and exploiting people.

Source: DR (Danish)


Laundry service A-Vask in Høje-Taastrup, which was caught on hidden camera abusing asylum seekers, is already paying the consequences. Several of its customers such as Burger King, Oticon and Danske Bank have told Danish news agency Ritzau that they will be reconsidering working with the company.

The program 21 SØNDAG taped Mohammed Warrad, the manager of A-Vask, instructing the program's disguised asylum seeker on the work situation. Other companies were also caught abusing asylum seekers.

A-Vask claims they have an agreement with the United Federation of Danish Workers (3F) and that they pay their employees according to this agreement. 3F confirms there is an agreement, but says the minimum wages according to this agreement are 106 kroner an hour. They want A-Vask to show how much money they have actually paid the employees in order to prove they have been holding by the agreement. Ole Schneider, head of 3F in Høje-Taastrup, is additionally waiting for the police and authorities investigation into the case.

Sources: MSN Nyheder (Danish), 3F (Danish)


Anonymous said...

Did they take any action against this?

Esther said...

Hi john,

The police have apparently launched an investigation. I updated the article with more info.