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Swiss cleaning company allegedly tricked migrants into working for free
A number of sources are reporting that a Sudanese migrant has been tricked into cleaning a branch of McDonalds, in Basel, Switzerland, without being paid.
'Yusef' had allegedly been cleaning non-stop for 40 days without pay - and without breaks - having been told that he would need to work for free if he was to qualify for a residency permit, after which he would properly join the ranks of his fellow cleaning staff and be paid for his efforts.
He didn't realise he was being tricked until he mentioned his circumstances to another resident at the hostel in which he was staying.
Yusuf told the German-language trade union magazine 'Work' that his employers - a subsidiary of Top Clean Reinigungen GmbH, had told him that by working the way he was, he could upgrade - with their help - to a five-year B permit, from the provisional F permit that he'd been given.
He told the publication's reporters that he worked "non-stop, without breaks," for 40 days over the period 2014-2015. After realising that he'd been tricked, he reported the case to the Swiss union Unia.
Although he demanded 6,868 Swiss Francs (£4,740) in backpay from his employer, he says he was offered just 3,000 francs (£2,070), which was conditional on him getting Unia to drop the complaint. He rejected the offer and McDonalds has since terminated its contract with Top Clean.
Unia reports that another seven migrants had been tricked into working for free by the firm; three have since filed wage complaints of their own.
Switzerland does not have a National Minimum Wage; a proposal was rejected last year by the general public, to introduce a mandatory minimum wage of 22 Swiss Francs (£15) an hour, which would have been the world's highest - however, Switzerland also has some of the highest costs of living in the world).
28th January 2016