• July 28, 2021

‘We are not going to take it, they are going to kill us’: Migrant workers face a life of hardship

Lazzaro de Cosa has been on a journey from the Italian capital, Rome, to the Spanish port of Malaga.

For the past two years, he has been employed by a Spanish company called Cedeño, but he said he could not find work because of his migrant status. 

“I know there are other companies who are hiring people but we are not working for them,” he said.

“We want to get our wages back, but we do not have enough to survive.” 

Mr Cosa said he had received no compensation for his work, and he was worried that if he applied for asylum in Spain he would be rejected. 

His situation has been the focus of a recent BBC documentary called “The End of a Journey”.

It follows a group of migrant workers who make up the majority of the workers in the Piraeus port. 

Cedeño’s boss, Manuel Fernández, told the programme: “If I don’t hire you, you are going back to Spain.”

He said that if migrants did not have a place to live, they would go hungry. 

‘They don’t have any money to eat’ The documentary shows the workers and their families as they struggle to survive on just €1 a day. 

The programme also tells the story of one of the migrants who, after spending his life in a refugee camp, has found work as a cook in Malaga, earning €300 a week.

“They don`t have any cash to eat, they don`re starving,” said Mr Fernángez, who is also a member of the Piraean community.

“The Spanish government says we have a lot of people who are looking for work, but no one wants to work for us.”

It is a huge shame.

We are going through a very difficult time.

We’re living in a terrible situation, we don’t want to work and we don`ll starve.” 

‘It`s not a good situation’ In a statement to the BBC, the Spanish government said that it is in the process of reopening the Piraias ports and that it would continue to work with the authorities to secure the jobs of migrants. 

According to the statement, it is not a “bad situation” for migrants, and the government “will continue to facilitate the work of the Spanish companies in Piraeus”.’

We don`T have enough money’ But the programme shows that many migrants are struggling to find work. 

One of the migrant workers, Guillermo, said: “The situation is not so good for me, I don`nt have any savings. 

I don`d like to go back to work but the situation is terrible.” 

He said he would only take his paycheque home if the company he worked for did not want to pay more. 

In an interview with the programme, Mr Fernaldez denied that his company had hired migrants because of their migrant status, saying he had “no reason to recruit” migrants.

He said: “We are doing this because we have no other options.

We can`t take them back.” 

However, a spokesman for the port authority in Pirai, Sergio de la Vega, told The Independent: “There is a law that allows for a company to hire someone with a permanent contract and this law is applied in all cases.” 

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