Groningen alderwoman Carine Bloemhoff wants to take action to improve the position of internationals in the hospitality business after reading the article that UKrant and city blog Sikkom published this week.
In the article, ‘Money? Why? We give you food’, dozens of internationals talk about their experiences being underpaid, not getting any breaks, harassed and discriminated against in their work in the Groningen hospitality and delivery business.
Alderwoman Bloemhoff, whose portfolio includes employment and the labour market, told UKrant and Sikkom that the tales are shocking and that she’ll take action. She wants to talk to the hospitality business about the abuses.
The city also wants to inform internationals of their labour rights when they arrive in Groningen, as well as of collective agreements and the existence of the Groningen Discrimination Hotline.
According to Bloemhoff, immigrants, whether internationals students or migrant workers, are in a vulnerable position. They’re often unaware of existing laws and are easily exploited.
Internationals deserve the same protection as any other employee, the alderwoman says. ‘While it’s the direct responsibility of the labour inspectorate to investigate working conditions, the city wants to do its part.’
The GroenLinks, CDA, PvdA, Student&Stad, D66, and SP factions on the Groningen city council also want the municipality to take action after UKrant and Sikkom’s investigation. They say it’s ‘unacceptable’ that so many internationals are being mistreated.
‘This clearly shows that international students are seen and treated like second-rate citizens’, says Sophie Middelhuis, with GroenLinks.
‘We know that this is a vulnerable group of people that are new to the city. Because of that, they encounter more obstacles such as the language barrier and a lack of knowledge of the law. We think the municipality should support them in combatting any and all forms of discrimination.’