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31 May 2024

Hungary: 200 Kyrgyz workers at SK Group subsidiary factory charged high recruitment fees by agents & laid off without severance pay

In May, Radio Free Europe released findings from its investigation on exploitation experienced by migrant workers in Hungary. The workers are largely from Ukraine, Serbia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The workers are in danger of losing their jobs without warning and being left without residency papers.

It describes a recent case where over 200 Kyrgyz workers lost their jobs at a factory owned by SK On Hungary, a subsidiary of South Korean SK Group. The workers paid thousands to a Kyrgyz agency for jobs in Hungary. Workers describe taking out loans to pay the fees. Some of workers were denied proper documentation. They were denied severance pay. The workers’ contracts were with an agency called Alfa Works. Another Kyrgyz agency, Ramai Sayakat Agency, had also arranged work for some of the workers.

SK On Hungary responded to Radio Free Europe, saying is has contracts with temporary employment agencies, and that there had been no layoffs but that it had “terminated the renting of approximately 600 foreign guest workers”. It says it did not employ the workers but “rented them”, and so the concept of severance pay could not be legally interpreted from the company’s perspective. Alfa Works did not respond to the journalists’ request for comment. Ramai Sayakat Agency responded to the journalists, saying “companies go bankrupt sometimes” and that “this kind of thing happens”.