Hundreds of Latvian workers report cases of ‘human violation’ and discrimination


A survey undertaken by the Latvian Community of Boston outlines ‘human violations’ and discrimination faced by migrant workers from Latvia.

The group - also known as ‘Stronger Together’ - conducted a survey across Boston, and says 839 workers reported such incidences.

Ziedonis Barbaks, chairman of the group, said the main concerns relate to those employed by gangmasters.

Some 45 reported not being correctly paid statutory holiday pay, with 38 not having their working days and holiday entitlement defined. There were said to be cases where employers ‘demanded the employee comes to work without notice’.

The report, conducted between 2013-2015, went on: “If they had not arrived within an hour of two he is penalised with seven-14 days unpaid leave.”

Some 33 Latvian said they reported injuries at work only for them to be dismissed. One example was given where a woman suffered ill health due to ‘heavy work’ and asked to be transfered to a different department, whereby her employment was allegedly terminated.

Other issues included 98 workers not being fully-paid for the work done, eight being subject to ‘discrimination, humiliation and ridicule’, and four car wash workers being paid below minimum wage.

The report says: “Often pregnant women aren’t given jobs - they may also be discriminated against and denied maternity pay. Some 17 workers reported experiencing this.

Workers also faced problems with their accommodation and travel - tied in with their employment.

Following the flood, 30 Latvians reported landlords ‘not willing to carry out essential repairs’ - forcing them to find alternative accommodation - with rent deposits as high as £1,500 not returned.