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12 February 2013

Cameroon Migrant Workers Receive Back Wages and Benefits

Last week, BWI Connect Migration Blog reported on a case of forced labour in Sweden. Nearly 50 Cameroon migrant workers working for a subcontractor of the Swedish forestry companies, SC and Homen were working in slave-like working conditions.

After months of waiting, the workers will now finally receive their promised wages and benefits as a result of the intervention of the Swedish Forestry Workers Union, GS. The workers will be paid between 5,000 to 20,000 SEK (EUR 580 - 2,320).

"We have reached a settlement---salaries and benefits---in accordance to the collective agreement," stated Per Olof Sjoo, President of GS and Deputy Vice-President of BWI. He continued, "We were able to win this case through a series of unusually hard negotiations at the national level. The forest companies have now promised better control. This means that the contractors have to live up to its promise to the Cameroon workers as well as regulate compensations owed to the worker under the terms of the collective agreement."

Sjoo further stated, “The GS believes that the recent ‘showdown’ between the union and employers at the central level is a guide for all workers in the forest sector. However, we are calling for legislative changes and more responsibilities taken by the employers. We need a national registry for businesses that employ migrant workers as well as that migrant workers who come here are protected legally.”