clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Nea Manolada’

Photos from Nea Manolada – immigrant workers conditions of living

Posted by clandestina on 25 June 2009

manolada2manolada3manolada4manolada7manolada9manolada10

These are last summer photos, reproduced at: http://garizo.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post_25.html

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System of Injustice intervenes in the Nea Manolada case – Torture victims with criminal charges, their torturers with misdemeanors

Posted by clandestina on 23 June 2009

photo by tvxs.grtvxs article info on the development in the Nea Manolada horrendous case of immigrant abuse.

clandestinenglish

The immigrants that fell victims of torture by the farmers in Ileia were led to the public attorney, facing criminal charges.  Their torturers were also led to the attorney, them facing misdemeanor charges,  though!

Four days after the incident,no forensic examination has taken place, on the pretext that the immigrants did not request one, this at a time when they did not even had a lawyer to represent them.

Article by the plsweb.org of 17 july.

Immigrant farm-workers tortured by Greek landlords

Friday, July 17, 2009
By: Nikos Kavadias

Down with anti-immigrant attacks!

A monstrous crime was committed on June 18 in the Greek town of Nea Manolada. Two immigrant farm workers from Bangladesh were beaten up, tortured and pilloried (publicly humiliated) by two Greek landlords, Dionisis Gomostiotis and Petros Samaris.

Immigrants Greece
Greek authorities assaulted and burned an immigrant refugee camp
down to the ground in Patras on July 12.

According to their story, they waited one night by their pen and saw three immigrants approach it. They recognized two of them but the next day could not find them. They then attacked another immigrant from Bangladesh, tied him up and tortured him until he agreed to guide them to the other immigrants.

When they found the immigrants they were after, they assailed, threatened, tied up, beat and tortured them. Then they roped them behind their motorbike and dragged them through the town center.

At one point, the workers got tired and fell down. The thugs stopped their bike, propped them up, beat them and continued pillorying them. They stopped only when the police arrived.

The police, loyal as always to the propertied classes, arrested all four of them, claiming that the workers were undocumented.

On June 22, the district attorney of Amaliada openly sided with the thugs. The Bangladeshi workers were charged with felonies for their alleged attempt to steal sheep, while the Greek bigots were charged with misdemeanors.

One year ago in the same town, immigrant farm workers staged a three-day strike against the local strawberry agribusiness. The landlords responded with a violent rampage. They threatened and beat workers with clubs and fired shotguns in the air. They even threw dynamite at the workers’ protest rally. The workers stood their ground and forced the landlords to concede.

During those events, the police witnessed the landlord terrorism but did nothing to stop it.

The recent attacks and the response of the local authorities are no surprise. They flow from the racist anti-immigrant policies of the Greek government itself. In its effort to keep wages low and the working class divided, the government is constantly escalating its attacks on immigrant workers. It denies even the most basic human rights.

The Greek government ignores its most basic duties under international law towards refugees. In 2008, the Greek government granted refugee status to only 358 people of 29,573 who applied. Tens of thousands more immigrants tried to apply but were unable to. Applications must be delivered in person and applicants need to wait for up to two days in line. Instead of granting asylum, the government is mass deporting the refugees.

On July 12, Greek police raided and burned to the ground a refugee camp in the town of Patras. On June 23, 25 undocumented workers from Afghanistan were flown back to the war zone—back to a country occupied by NATO forces, including Greek troops. An increasing percentage of immigrants come from countries that are in the crosshairs of imperialism: Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, and Pakistan.

The government is now preparing concentration camps where undocumented immigrants will be incarcerated for 12 months before being deported.

Greece is the entry point to Europe for many immigrant workers. The government is increasing its anti-immigrant assaults in cooperation with Italy, Spain and other European countries.

The entire Greek elite is supporting these attacks on immigrants, including the major opposition PASOK party, the chauvinist LAOS party, all mainstream media, local governments and land developers. Nazi gangs that appear as “citizens’ committees” are assaulting immigrants in their houses or on the streets with makeshift or real weapons.

The rise in racism and violence against immigrants in Greece and other imperialist countries is not accidental. Mass immigration in the era of capitalist globalization is a result of the owners’ need to under-develop and dominate the resources of poorer countries abroad and the need for cheap labor at home.

During times of economic crisis, when workers all over the world face a tidal wave of unemployment, the capitalist powers seek to turn as many sectors of society against immigrants as possible in order to direct workers’ anger and frustration away from the guilty party: the capitalist class. Racism and attacks on immigrants are given the seal of approval by government oppression, violent raids, mass deportations and worse.

Joining immigrants in struggle against racist attacks is a necessary component of working-class struggle, especially in a time of global economic crisis.

The bigoted landlords alleged that the workers were stealing their sheep. They never filed a police report. Government policies promote racist attacks

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Immigrant workers degradation practices in Nea Manolada: farm owners brutally abuse immigrants “to set an example”.

Posted by clandestina on 19 June 2009

Immigrant abuse in Nea Manolada

Unspeakable violence in Nea Manolada, Ileia, Peloponnese.   Farmers in the area “took the law into their own hands” and decided to punish in their own cruel way economic migrants living and working in the area.

Two farmers had set a guard on their farm to watch for the people who had been allegedly stealing sheep.  Having identified some Bangladeshi immigrants as those attempting to steal and made them flee during the night, the morning after the farmers visited the alleged thieves houses.

They punched and kicked them and hit them with clubs while on the ground.  The farmers then tied the immigrants on a motorcycle and dragged them around in the center of the village to set an example for others.

The thefts had never been reported to the police … The intervention of the police  informed of the tragedy by witnesses rescued the immigrants.   Two farmers and two immigrants were arrested.

Translation of excertpts from tvxs article. What follows are articles on the recent history of the strawberry fields of the area.

Greece’s strawberry war ends in uneasy truceFacebook Stumbleupon

by Teacher Dude | April 22, 2008 at 02:19 am

In scenes reminiscent of Steinbeck’s 1930’s classic, the Grapes of Wrath, immigrant and minority workers have clashed with what Greek newspapers called “hired thugs’ over pay and conditions. Amidst sometimes violent clashes agricultural workers in the Greek town of Nea Manolada, home to 90% of Greece’s strawberry production took part in a four day stoppage aimed at getting a pay rise of 3.5 euros a day.

As of Sunday strawberry producers have agreed to rise pay from 22.5 to 28 euros for farm labourers.However, the figure of 28 euros only applies to European workers, non-Europeans will receive only 25 euros according to the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini. Fears still remain that the producers will fail to honour even this agreement, due to be take effect in Autumn, once media attention has died down. The local council sets the minimum wage for untrained labourers at 30.4 euros a day.

It should be noted that strawberries, sometimes called “red gold” by local producers, retail at 1.5 to 3 euros a kilo on the Greek market

The newspaper also brought to light several cases in which the police force and members of the local authorities, which turned a blind eye this week to attacks on union and political activists by landowners, are also involved with various scams involving the sale of fake residence permits for immigrant workers.

Miltos Paulou, head of the European Union Agency for Fundemental Rights (FRA) stated that 70% of those working in intensive agriculture in Greece are illegal immigrants and that Greek law limits foreign workers ability to change jobs so allowing the kind of exploitation seen in Nea Manolada and many other areas.

source of the above.

Migrant workers in Greece wage historic strike

Author: Laura Petricola

People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 05/28/08 08:28

ATHENS — Migrant workers laboring in the strawberry fields of Nea Manolada, in Greece’s southern Peloponnese region, where 90 percent of the country’s strawberry production is concentrated, waged a historic strike last month that will pave the way for immigrant workers in the country to battle for their rights, side by side with Greek workers.
After a three-day strike April 18-20, the field laborers returned to work with a wage increase to 25-26 euros per day. Their wages had been 22-23 euros for a full workday. The strikers have vowed to continue their fight for a daily wage of 30 euros.

Though over 2,000 of the 2,500 agricultural laborers in Nea Manolada are undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and other countries, they fought back against police terror and the vicious attacks of the large producers, demanding better working and living conditions as well as a higher wage.
The All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) has been in Manolada for the past year aiding migrant laborers to organize their struggle and to link these issues to wider workers’ struggles throughout Greece.

On May 11, PAME forces from all over Peloponnese and nearby islands mobilized in Manolada in a mass show of support for the field laborers. The rally’s theme was “Greek and Immigrant Workers United in Struggle!” Large landowners made determined efforts to turn Greek farmers against PAME and the strikers, claiming that immigrant labor costs Greeks their jobs.

Migrant agricultural laborers in Nea Manolada live and work in squalid conditions. They are forced to work every day, including Sunday. Lost days mean lost wages and the threat of firing. They harvest strawberries in greenhouses in 113 degrees Fahrenheit. There are no toilets at the work site; workers must use the fields. The only water supply comes from the pipes used to water the strawberries.

Many workers live in the greenhouses because they cannot afford rent elsewhere. They cover their makeshift beds of wood pallets with newspapers and rags. No running water, electricity or toilets are available. Those “lucky” enough to have housing live with 25 people or more sharing one toilet in abandoned village houses or warehouses where they pay up to 50 euro per month per person.

Workers must pay out of pocket for all medical care, to a government that refuses to grant free medical care to undocumented permanent immigrants. Yet they have many medical problems because of the exhausting work and the excessive use of pesticides and fungicides without protective equipment. Many workers are raising young children under such foul and desperate conditions.

The government refuses to guarantee the workers’ basic rights but instead does all it can to support the “right” of large landowners to extract the greatest maximum profit from them. Just half an hour of work represents the actual cost of labor on a given day; the other six and a half hours line the pockets of the boss. In clearer terms, on average a strawberry worker fills five crates per hour, with 10 boxes per crate. Each box is sold for roughly 3 euros. Do the math!

Given the profits involved, it is clear why strikers and members of PAME were under attack. From the very first day, strikers were terrorized by the bosses. During the strike’s second day, three of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) members present for support were attacked and wounded, while armed groups stormed the workers’ shanties. Threats and provocations continued into the third day while the police looked on.

On the third day, landowners agreed to increase wages and strikers agreed to go back to work, vowing to continue their struggle for a 30 euro daily wage. KKE is demanding that the Ministries of Labor and the Interior intervene, with no results as yet.

The strike shows migrants have power when that power is channeled into mass collective action. KKE proposes a framework of organization and struggle for the needs of migrants and their families including immediate legalization and equal rights in work, health care, education and social security.

source of the above

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