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Exploiting Romanians
in Ireland

Stiffed a few quid

Exploitation can happen without intent

I had a job in Nijmegen, arguably the most liberal city in the Netherlands, the most liberal country in the world. I worked at an organic bakery, for an employer who had started business in an Amsterdam squat, where he had built his own brick oven.

He was good to me. But exploitation can happen without intent — it's natural. On several occasions, I found myself treated as a second-class employee.

One day Arend was talking about the allotment of hours between myself and another baker. He suggested that I would probably take whatever I could get.

We were trying to get a work permit. We were busy for a few months with the arcane and inscrutable Dutch bureaucracy. Maybe we could have finessed it, I don't know. Then one day — as if on a whim, but likely after judicious consideration — he told me that he had decided not to pursue the matter any further.

And he cut my hours.