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Spotlight must be kept on abuses of foreign workers following Filipino fishers abuse revelations.

9 December, 2008 - by Alex Maskey

Sinn Fein MLA and member of the Policing Board Alex Maskey has slammed the treatment on Filipino Fishermen calling it archaic and indentured labour in many cases. He has further called for a spotlight to be kept upon the treatment of foreign workers who face exploitation.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

"The recent revelations of how Filipino fishermen are being abused is shocking and reminiscent of feudal times and slavery and I welcome the work of those who have exposed this. The rights of these men must be protected.

"The Agriculture Department alongside the trade unions have been working hard with the fishery sector to get the best treatment for the fishermen. The industry has committed itself to root those who do not comply and protect their workers against such abuses.

"Filipino fishermen are getting well below the minimum wage, they are not being paid as they should with the right money being sent home to their families and have to work horrendously long hours.

"Given the fact that the Filipino fishermen are working on a visa that this is a fear amongst them that they can be deported at any time. Many indeed do not have legal status. This amounts to a the construction of a culture of fear indentured labour.

"Following this exposure and the deplorable news of human trafficking that was reported only last week we need to keep the spotlight on foreign workers or people being brought to this country for whatever reason, their rights and entitlements and ensure that they are being met. This is the twenty-first century and there are significant human rights advances that must be adhered to by all."

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