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Luxembourg firm denies slavery allegations
Economics

Luxembourg firm denies slavery allegations

21.03.2013 From our online archive
A construction company accused of modern slavery practices has denied claims they paid employees between 300 and 700 euros per month.

A construction company accused of modern slavery practices has denied claims they paid employees between 300 and 700 euros per month.

Açomonta, which provides steel reinforcement for concrete structures, was accused on Tuesday by union OGBL of paying staff less than the minimum wage.

Speaking to wort.lu on Wednesday, Açomonta CEO Luis Medeiros denied the claims. “This is completely false" and "it would not be possible" to pay 300 to 700 euros per month for workers who work "with all contractual regulations in Luxembourg," he said.

Mr Medeiros, who took over the running of the Differdange-based firm last November, said that it was not true staff were paid between 300 and 700 euros per month, contrary to OGBL allegations that it was common practice.

He said that among the 50 staff on his payroll, all were paid in accordance with Luxembourg's labour laws and had Luxembourg work contracts.

The CEO said, however, he does not understand why the union made the allegations without asking for his side of the story.

"Why is it OGBL did not come to see me? Especially since our door is always open and I am ready to show all payslips, this is not a problem!” he said.

Employment watchdog the Inspectorate for work and mines (ITM), however, says it has been monitoring the firm for a year. According to deputy director Robert Huberty, six people within the organisation are working on the case. He said that the ITM is in contact with the firm but did not reveal further information about the checks carried out by inspectors.

The OGBL claims to have passed information about Açomonta and its sub contractors to the ITM during the last two years with no visible result, until now.

Reporting by Maurice Fick