Thai berry pickers paid less than Swedish colleagues for same work

A dispute between Thai berry pickers and the Swedish companies that buy the berries from them has begun in Fredrika, northern Sweden, reports the regional daily VK.
     The Thais have been contracted to get paid SEK 5 per kilo lingonberries. When they found out Swedish workers got SEK 6 per kilo from the same company the Thais had an agreement with, and that SEK 6 or more per kilo was the norm in the region, Thai workers called to a meeting.
     A spokesman for the company claimed that they could not pay more because they already had enough lingonberries in stock.
     Furthermore, said the company spokesman to the Thais, are your berries of lower quality because you don’t carry them properly.
     “We feel sad, disappointed and discriminated,” says one Thai worker to VK.
     Some Thais have decided to fly back as soon as possible because of the price dispute, reports VK. The average Thai worker stays in Sweden for nine weeks, working daily from 03-04 in the morning up to 21-22 in the evening.
     They pay SEK 100 per day for food, lodging and local transports to a group of resident Thais that arrange the job in Sweden, writes VK, and of course the trip from and to Thailand.
     Pay disputes and allegations of cheating is not new for Thai berry pickers in Sweden. Three years ago several groups of Thai workers had a similar argument over pay and contract clauses with Swedish employers.
     Some Thais took the berry company to court and a settlement was later reached.

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