Employers who exploit workers are ‘bloodsuckers’

May 22, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Vatican, May 20, 2016: Pope Francis has condemned employers who only offer temporary contracts or no health insurance to employees, calling them “bloodsuckers,” and saying they exploit workers by turning under-the-table payment into “civilised slavery.”

“Those poor people become slaves. We think of the here and now, the same thing happens all over the world,” Francis said in his daily homily yesterday.

The Pope complained of “rich people who exploit others,” saying they offer contracts only from September to June, and then the employees have to “eat air” from July to August.

“Those who do that are true bloodsuckers, and they live by spilling the blood of the people who they make slaves of labour,” Francis said, according to a summary of the homily provided by Vatican Radio.

As an example, he quoted the example of a young girl who once told him about having a job that paid 650 euros ($A1000) a month for an 11-hour a day, under the table, and if she didn’t take it, someone else would because “there’s a line of people waiting.”

These exploitive employers, Francis warned, “grow fat on their riches.”

All around the world, he said, workers who lack better opportunities in the labor market accept under-the-table employment, even though it means being left without basic protections, such as unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, or access to healthcare.

Statistics of under-the-table employment are considered woefully inaccurate, among other reasons because those hired are unlikely to report it, especially in the case of undocumented immigrants.

However, several studies estimate that in so-called developed countries, at least 15% of the workforce is made up by this informal economy.

A report from 2006 shows that in the United States, between 80-97% of nannies and private household employees were paid under the table, and the numbers aren’t much better for temporary jobs such as construction or home repair.

In Pope Francis’ backyard of Latin America, estimates hold that informal employment represents up to 51% of the total workforce, while in India and many sub-Saharan African countries the number goes up to 90%.

– cns

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