I am exploited at work. What should I do?
The first step is to make your case known to local authorities. Rompro advises you to lodge an official complaint with the Dutch Labour Inspectorate (SZW) in case of abuse, or contact the association Fairworkwho will analyse the situation and help you with your complaint to the various institutions.
Why should I complain?
Because it's your right and it's your best chance to resolve your situation.
Because your exploitation at work won't just stop. On the contrary, it will continue and extend to other people. Why? Because it can.
Because without making as many cases as possible known, local authorities have no way of solving the problems. It's not enough to tell our friends or on social media.
It's important to say stop!
How do I complain?
You can make a complaint to the Labour Inspectorate (SZW) in Romanian by filling in SZW form.
For more complex problems, you can turn to Fairwork, a Dutch association that helps migrant workers, examines each case individually, then with the person's consent lodges a complaint with the responsible institutions (Labour Inspectorate - SZW, ABU, SNF, UWV, etc.). You can write in Romanian to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0611953534.
If you are in the province of North Brabant, Eindhoven City Hall has recently opened a centre where foreign workers can make complaints about abuse or irregularities in the workplace. These complaints can also be made in Romanian at Inwonersplein, Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven, by calling 14040 to make an appointment.
You can also do it after your employment contract ends, not necessarily during it.
I want to know my rights!
It's the first step to not being exploited in the future. Your rights are important and must be respected:
- employment contract in a language you understand
- fair pay for work done
- transitional payment once your contract has ended or you have been made redundant
- legal registration at the address where the company offers you the rent, for which you pay
- your health card, if your employer provides health insurance
For more general information in English about working and living in the Netherlands and your rights and obligations here, see the new government page www.workinnl.nl.
How can Rompro help me?
Rompro cannot deal directly with cases of exploitation at work, but it can help you, among other things, to:
- Finding the information you need about your situation (who to contact, what to do, what rights you have, what laws support those rights, etc.)
- Recommendation of a lawyer or jurist
- Case-by-case, needs-based assistance
We can be contacted at : email@example.com
What can I do for myself?
You can become independent and avoid exploitation as much as possible by learning a language at a basic level. This will make your life in the Netherlands much easier if you can communicate with others on your own. For Dutch or English courses, you can contact Interconnections - Online school.
Have confidence, but check everything you sign! If possible, ask in advance for a printout/draft of the contract you are about to sign, in a language you understand (Romanian, English). Don't sign anything without knowing what it says in the contract! Ask a friend for help, or contact the Rompro Foundation or Fairwork for assistance.
Other institutions providing assistance
FairWork - association for the prevention of exploitation at work:
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 32
1012 RZ Amsterdam
Phone / Whatsapp: 0611953534
City of Eindhoven - for the North Brabant area
Inwonersplein, Stadhuisplein 1
5611 EM Eindhoven
(call 14040 to make an appointment)
FNV - The workers' union in the Netherlands can be contacted at:
Photo by Michał Bożek on Unsplash