Saturday, 19 May 2007

Slavery for Polaks in the 21st Century

My friend came to Scotland to visit me, and to work.
He was a student of mine in Poland and became a good friend.
Imagine my embarrassment when his story became one of exploitation and racism.

To explain.

I arranged a job for him at a hotel in a very 'picture-squee' area of the Highlands.
Sounded like a good deal - wages above minimum, somewhere to stay at another hotel with free meals thrown in, enough free time to travel around and a rather jolly atmosphere.

The reality was far, far different.

No point in dwelling upon the detail of the illegal deductions and unpaid hours.

No wage slips.
No student Tax exemption form - seems that the tax was deducted but not paid over.
No meals such as were promised.
'No' accommodation - a doss in a derelict building 1 hour from work.
No free time.
No dignity - 'you fucking Polish bastard'.

I was certainly embarrassed as I had arranged the gig, but the guy was typically stoic and just got on with it.
We had to fight to get a P45 and any indication that he had even worked.
My mother received threats of physical violence from the hotel management when they realised that we were pursuing the matter.
He got the tax back, eventually.

Also, it seems that the Kilcreggan Hotel were running the same scam with other Polish workers ie keep the passports, keep back the tax, keep them in slavery.
If they argue, fire them with no pay.
(I met some girls there who had been screwed for large sums of money - they didn't speak English, unlike my friend).

Disgusting situation all round.

Not so unlike the following linked case.


zola a social thing said...

G'Day all and the Lurkin Merk. Just here for the first time.
Thanks for the anti-slavery post every little bit counts.
good on yer

trousers said...

Another good post. Makes a slight mockery of all that "they come over here, take our jobs...." kind of stuff.
Appalling state of affairs, and good to see a strong piece of writing about it.

anticant said...

Reminds me of those poor Chinese cockle-pickers. Why are such practises allowed to continue until there is some horrible scandal? They should be illegal, and strictly policed, in the first place. Instead, our wonderful rulers slap ASBOs on old Grannies feeding the birds in their own gardens, fine mothers whose small kids drop a couple of crisps at bus stops, and invite people to snoop on one another.

It all beggars belief.

Jose said...

Here in Spain, until the Socialist government decided to legalise the immigrants under certain conditions, there was something of the kind you mention in your post. But those who could not get legalised are still going under the same brutal pay and work conditions, perhaps worse than those you mention.

The opposition, the so-called Right, criticises the government for the legalisation. Of course most of those exploiting immigrants vote for the Right.

zola a social thing said...

Told you I would visit agin.
One major hassle seems to be that the "pleasure-seeking varities" act as if they were aristocrats ( useless). But it is the slave workers that keep the pleasure principle going for itself.

Used to say that we are all middle class now.
All aristocrats now.

Merkin said...

In the case of my young friend, he was certainly far more legal than I was for most of the time in Poland.
He had worked in London the previous Summer with no problems.
However, what he had encountered was the phenomenon of the 'White Settler' ie those people who sell a house in the city and have enough cash to buy an estate in the country.
As Lords of the manor they have a lot of power - and they use it.

Jose said...

Nasty lives they carry those nabobs!

But life is so short that I wonder when they'll have time to realise that that isn't the way.

zola a social thing said...

Indeed Jose.
That White MANs burden sucks.
Not too sure about the women either!!!