translated by @Cyberela for http://bloodstrawberries.tumblr.com/
Yesterday at 09/05/13 at 18:05 the phone rang.
It was Kamal, an Afghan refugee-laborer, whom we met and exchanged phone numbers at Manolada.
He told me that he and 16 other compatriots went to ask their 45-days wage for work they offered at Vagelatos strawberry producer.
We’ll have to clarify here the way they hired and paid those refugees-workers:
The producer – landowner, finds the “leader” of a workers group and makes the proper agreements with him. They arrange the work days and the fee(regarding the current case, for 45 days of labor, the workers would be paid €350 each).
The “leader” of the group supervises his fellow workers and when the work is done he carries the wages from the boss to the workers, keeping for himself a considerable amount.
Let’s get back to the phone call.
Kamal told me, that his compatriot did not pay them and told them that the boss didn’t have any money to give them now and that they will receive their fees later.
He asked me “what should we do”? I told him to wait for the next day, to stay calm and be alert so that the incidents of the shootings at Manolada will not be repeated.
At 23:21 in the evening, Kamal calls me again, he was very upset and he told me that two of his fellow compatriots were stabbed.
From what I understood, the 17 laborers sat down to eat their dinner and after they finished their meal, they exited their shack to wash their dishes at the outdoor faucet.
There, Nasis or Nazir was waiting for them and after he stabbed one of the workers in the back and stabbed another worker in the thigh, he fled.
I told Kamal to call 911 and transfer the injured at the Health Center at Vardas (4 km from there).
He told me that no one has papers (migration papers) and that he is afraid to call for an ambulance because the police will arrive and will arrest them all.
I told him to take the wounded on the main road and stop a car to help them and transfer them at the Health Center.
He hanged up the phone and I started reporting the issue on Twitter while calling reporters who live in Athens.
A well known reporter called Kamal and as he told me he found him at the police station.
The police officer asked Kamal who was he talking with and took his phone from his hands. When the officer realized to whom Kamal was talking to he informed the journalist that the issue is under control and that the Bangladeshis (migrants was all the same to him) clashed between themselves and that the greek employer had already paid the “leader” – middleman of the “foreigners” and that he kept the money.
As I learned later from Kamal, the migrant who was most seriously injured in the back, was transferred at Patra’s hospital.
They asked from Kamal that I should talk to the officer, but the voice that was heard from the phone said “NO NO”!
Today, 10/05/2013, I called Kamal early in the morning. His phone was off.
I must point out that I realized that they will try to present the incident as a dispute between the “leader” and the workers for keeping their wages for himself (the leader).
Anyway, the fact is that basic human rights are not recognized regarding refugees land laborers making them vulnerable to the barbarity of their boss as well as to the exploitation of their compatriots’ cartels.
The right to get paid for their work can be easily not recognized because they cannot resort to any institutional authority of the state, because they don’t have immigration documents, therefore they don’t exist.
I must point out once again that the agreed net fee for the 45 day work is €217 from the €350 in total.
The rest of their wage (the €133) will be kept for the shacks’ rent allocated by the employer and for the middleman’s fee.
The crime continues at Manolada and I fear that if nothing is done IMMEDIATELY with their documents and the work – residence permits, the situation will become rougher in the coming days.
Manolada’s strawberry production covers less than 10% of the total agricultural production.
The refugees land laborers work also at the tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and other agricultural products’ greenhouses of this region all year.
The Blood Strawberries boycott is ineffective if not combined with other products that are produced there under those unacceptable conditions.
Until this moment at 12:43, I managed to communicate with Kamal.
He is being IMPRISONED at Patra because he has no immigration documents along with the rest of his compatriots.
I fear that Kamal will be charged.
Kamal is the man carrying the yellow flag with the plaid shirt in the center of the photo.
15:30 Kamal reached his shack – he is well.
Their owed money were confiscated by the police and our actions are now directed towards to be given to the workers.
He thanks you all for the interest you have showed.