Fruit farm­ers seek to hire Greeks

Pro­duc­ers in Ileia plan to ad­ver­tise 4,000 po­si­tions with Man­power Or­ga­ni­za­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Straw­berry pro­duc­ers in Ileia, in the Pelo­pon­nese, are seek­ing to re­cruit Greek fruit pick­ers, rather than the mi­grant la­bor­ers they usu­ally em­ploy, in a bid to curb ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment, Kathimerini has learned.

The 120 or so straw­berry pro­duc­ers in north­ern Ileia are ex­pected to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tions to the Amali­ada-based of­fice of the state Man­power Or­ga­ni­za­tion (OAED) in the com­ing days for the re­cruit­ment of more than 4,000 fruit pick­ers and the ma­jor­ity want those jobs to go to Greeks.

“As there is un­em­ploy­ment, we want to hire Greeks to work our land,” Fo­tis Kyr­i­azis, who leads the Yr­mini co­op­er­a­tive, told Kathimerini. How­ever, he ex­pressed doubts about whether Greeks would take to the fields, not­ing that in the past Greeks had only been in­ter­ested in ad­min­is­tra­tive jobs or work­ing as driv­ers. “Work­ing in the fields is much more tir­ing,” he con­ceded. It is un­clear whether Kyr­i­azis and other lo­cal farm­ers plan to of­fer Greek farm hands a higher wage than the aver­age of 25 eu­ros per day cur­rently paid out to mi­grant work­ers.

In April dozens of mi­grant work­ers were in­jured when their su­per­vi­sors opened fire on them fol­low­ing a dis­pute over un­paid salaries, fu­el­ing a de­bate about con­di­tions on Greek fruit farms.

Hun­dreds of for­eign work­ers, chiefly un­doc­u­mented, unin­sured mi­grants, eke out a liv­ing work­ing on fruit farms in the Pelo­pon­nese. Vir­tu­ally all of Greece’s straw­berry ex­ports are pro­duced by farms in Ileia.

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