Migrant farm workers in Ontario strike against working conditions

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Migrant farm workers stage wildcat strike to demand thousands of dollars in unpaid wages: Employer responds with deportation

November 23, 2010

(Simcoe, Ontario) Over 100 migrant farm workers employed at Ghesquiere Plants Ltd. are facing imminent repatriation (deportation) after staging a wildcat strike to demanding thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

The migrant workers from Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados came together across racial, linguistic and ethnic lines to organize this wildcat strike and strengthen their collective power. The workers employed by this farm described numerous rights violations and complaints about their living conditions including the following:

• Workers are each owed from $1,000 to $6,000 in unpaid wages;

• Workers are to be evicted and will be homeless as of Thursday, November 25th, 2010;

• Most of the Mexican and Trinidadian workers will be repatriated by this Thursday. All Jamaican workers have been repatriated;

• Electricity and heat has been cut off in one bunk;

• Deplorable and very crowed living conditions.

Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a grassroots advocacy migrant rights organization, calls for the immediate payment of all wages owing to workers.

Migrant workers employed at Ghesquiere Plant Ltd. are being forced to return home and cannot provide for their families. Repatriation denies them access to pursue legal avenues under federal and provincial laws, basic protections accorded to permanent residents in Canada thus J4MW calls on both levels of government to intervene to protect migrants and prosecute employers who denied these workers basic rights.

J4MW stresses that Temporary Foreign Worker Programs such as the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program denies migrant workers the ability to exert their rights and are in need of an urgent and complete overhaul.

 

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