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Artikel

17 Mai 2022

Autor:
Karen McVeigh, The Guardian

UK: Report finds 'rampant exploitation & abuse' of migrant workers on UK fishing boats incl. physical violence & racial discrimination

"Migrant workers ‘exploited and beaten’ on UK fishing boats", 17 May 2022

A third of migrant workers on UK fishing vessels who responded to a research survey work 20-hour shifts, and 35% reported regular physical violence, according to a new study that concludes there is rampant exploitation and abuse on British ships...

They found fishers reported working excessive hours, with few breaks, on an average salary of £3.51 an hour.

Interviews with migrant workers on fishing boats across the UK revealed experiences of racism and many accounts of “extreme violence”, including two reported incidents of graphic and sexually violent acts, it said.

Workers from the Philippines, Indonesia, Ghana, Sri Lanka and India are recruited into the UK fishing industry on “transit visas”, a loophole that “legalises their exploitation”, according to the report, Letting Exploitation Off the Hook. Seafarers’ transit visas are intended to allow crew to join ships leaving UK ports for international waters...

These visas tie workers to a single employer. This leaves them dependent on the ship’s captains for their working and living conditions, such as access to food and other essentials, and prevents them changing jobs. Workers can then potentially be abused and controlled by rogue shipowners...

More than 60% of migrant fishers interviewed reported hearing about or seeing their fellow workers being threatened or actually abused, whether physically, sexually or psychologically. About 75% said they felt discriminated against by their captain. One in three said they would be unlikely to leave their job because of debts.

The report found that the migrant workers did not know who to trust, with more than 60% saying they would never report a grievance out of fear of reprisals – either against themselves or their families being blacklisted. Many owed debts to recruitment agencies.

The report also contrasted the situation of migrant workers, who were poorly paid on a fixed wage, to local crews, who were paid a “crew share” – a percentage of the value of the fish landed or of the profit...

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