There has been a chronic mistreatment of workers in the country’s meat industry, according to unions
In spring 2018, Alina Serbenco’s husband, Vasile, sat in a fast-food outlet in Dublin and plugged his mobile phone into a socket to recharge. It had been only a few months since he had moved from Romania to take up a job in a car wash, but he was being paid less than half the minimum wage and could not send money home to Alina and their two children. Homeless and living in a car, Vasile urgently needed a new job.
As he scrolled through Facebook, he spotted an advert for a job in a meat factory. It was posted by Irish employment agency AA Euro, a specialist recruitment consultancy working with companies in the agricultural, food processing, construction and mining industries, which has offices across the EU, including in Romania, Poland and the Netherlands. The job offer was up to 70 hours a week of work for just over the minimum wage and a room in a house for about €60 (£51.50) a week. Vasile decided to apply.