Huub Vrijdag (61) has worked in the construction industry for 42 years. But his last employer, BTB Riedas, sacked him without a moment’s notice. Not because there’s no work, but because the company was using Portuguese labour. Now, Huub is out of a job. Providing cheap labour is a million-euro industry.
Construction workers from poorer European regions move from one construction site to the next. In the Netherlands, the controversial Irish company Atlanco Rimec is the biggest construction staffing agency. The company provides cheap migrant workers within the bounds of what’s legally permissible. A recent example is the A2 tunnel construction project in Maastricht. Foreign labourers may have been underpaid and worked too many hours. But Rimec’s cheap labourers are still employed in the Netherlands. ZEMBLA investigates why the Dutch government continues to do business with Rimec.