• Sweden edition
 
Swedish forestry firms in migrant labour scandal

Swedish forestry firms in migrant labour scandal

Published: 23 Jan 2013 08:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Jan 2013 08:53 GMT+01:00

"We're talking about human trafficking, plain and simple," Tommy Andersson of GS, the Swedish union of forestry, wood and graphical workers, told Svergies Television (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag granskning.

According to a programme to be broadcast on Wednesday night, Swedish forestry giants SCA and Holmen hire agents to recruit migrant workers from Cameroon, luring them to Sweden with false promises of good pay.

The practice has been going on for the past two years and involves sending documents to the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) indicating the workers will earn 18,500 kronor ($2,825) per month and which have been approved by the union.

But the promised wages appear only to exist on paper, according to Uppdrag granskning.

When the Cameroonian workers arrive in the forests of northern Sweden, they are forced to carry out piece work for much lower pay.

They were also forced to pay hefty fees to the agents before being allowed to start working in the first place.

When some of the workers complained, the agent threatened to burn down their homes back in Cameroon, according to the SVT report.

Six months after the end of the planting season, many of the Cameroonian workers remain in Sweden as undocumented immigrants.

They lack housing, money, and work and are afraid to return home because they lack money to pay off the debts incurred to make the journey to Sweden.

The Swedish forestry firms told Uppdrag granskning they were also "duped" by the recruiting agents, but claim they have no obligation to help the workers with their predicament.

"We have a contract agreement with businesslike provisions with the agent. We don't have any agreement which involves any responsibility for their staff," Jan Sandström, regional manager with Holmen AB, told SVT.

TT/The Local/dl

Follow The Local on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

10:30 January 23, 2013 by bourgeoisieboheme
Sounds like these guys just want a way in to the land of the free handouts. Not sure I buy the asylum seekers stories. Seems anyone can claim anything these days and get to stay in Sweden... unless you are a skilled worker who wants to move from, Canada or the US, then you are stuck.
11:03 January 23, 2013 by skatty
If Sweden could manage to establish some colonies in Africa and Asia for some centuries ago (like the rest of Western European countries, which can manage to get cheap labor from their previous colonies, and force them to low paid jobs in Europe) then the Swedish companies did not have to lure migrant workers to low paid jobs in Sweden.

Sweden could get cheap labor legally and happily abuse them without much problem (it did not even have to get lot of refugees and unhappily call them immigrants who suppose to work as cheap labor!)
11:23 January 23, 2013 by Rishonim
This story sounds rather fishy to me. First of all, I never heard of any Swedish company happily employing black people or any one with a foreign sounding name. Secondly, Swedes always pull the you need to speak Swedish card so why would they import a bunch of people from Cameroon who can hardly speak English! (sarcasm) :-))))
13:24 January 23, 2013 by Migga
What proof is there that it`s the swedish companies luring these workers here and not the recruiting agents? Who are these recruiting agents? Swedish? Cameroonian? Third party? Is it the swedish companies fault that these workers run up a debt? Why aren`t these workers sent home when they breach their working terms and stay here illegally?
13:57 January 23, 2013 by RobinHood
Good CSR within the supply chain obviously passed poor Mr Sandström by.

It's time for Holmen to give Mr Sandström his gold watch I think.
14:59 January 23, 2013 by cabralb
Well folks, none of you came up with a point. The moment where ordinary public like me and you go wrong is when we start we find our perspectives defined in terms of nations and states. what a crap!! Here the situation is more than that. It is about a network of small greedy people misusing the opportunities lied there. Why in the first place this happens, while we boast of having a secure system? It is quite unfortunate. The same is the case with the chocolate producing companies, where we enjoy their products and never took a minute to see how the production like is constructed in a slavery-like chain. And the company here in Sweden telling they have no obligation as to what the situation of the workers, their true nature of relationships with the recruiting agencies? I can only laugh at this statement. Had it not been for this kind of investigation, the leadership of the company would proudly present themselves that 'we have the safest workers condition' You guys pissed me off.
16:06 January 23, 2013 by Rishonim
@cabralb, you are right but as usual, no one in Sweden ever take responsibility for anything and no one is held accountable for their actions. They should apply the same type of scrutiny as they do with factories employing child labour. Unfortunately in Sweden all you need to do claim ignorance and nothing will happen to you.
02:48 January 31, 2013 by Marc the Texan
So pay them what they are owed and send them home. Why do

I get the feeling that this is no longer about pay, but about staying in Sweden?
Today's headlines

Russia threat means military needs cash: Alliance

Sweden's government has pledged to invest an extra 1.3 billion kronor in the military as Russia ramps up its activities in the Baltic Sea area. READ  

Two terror plots stopped in Sweden
Swedish Security Service Headquarters in Stockholm Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Two terror plots stopped in Sweden

The Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) says it has stopped two terror attacks being planned by violent extremists living inside the country. READ  

Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Forecasters have predicted sunshine across Sweden this week, with a warm front moving in from Russia and temperatures of up to 25C. READ  

International police hunt
Swedish killer arrested after European hunt
Photo: Police

Swedish killer arrested after European hunt

UPDATED: Police arrested a man on Tuesday afternoon after he went missing from a psychiatric ward in western Sweden at the weekend. The man had been convicted of murdering a five-year-old schoolgirl in 2003. READ  

Music
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Swedish singer Tove Lo. Photot: TT

The five best Swedish songs of the month

The summer may be (almost) over but the music will keep on playing here at The Local. Our resident music guru Paul Connolly will be selecting his top new Swedish tracks for us in a new monthly feature. READ  

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

African pygmy hedgehogs are being bought by growing numbers of Swedes, as a trend for keeping exotic pets sweeps the country, the Department for Animal Welfare and Health tells The Local. READ  

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden
The mushroom in this picture is not the same as the one from the story. Photo: Shutterstock

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden

A person selling freshly-picked mushrooms in Gothenburg has come under fire after it turned out the delicacies were not only poisonous but also hallucinogenic. READ  

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

The largest hacking case in Danish history began in confusion on Tuesday, after lawyers representing Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg accused the prosecution of "unreasonable" tactics. READ  

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

As H&M expands into Ethiopia, Sweden's state venture capital unit Swedfund has announced that it will back the clothing giant, in a move hoped to create more jobs for local women. READ  

Elections 2014
Social Democrats reveal election manifesto
Photo: TT

Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »

 

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

756
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se