Broos, 21 years, Belgium

"In the factory there were a lot of machines dating from the 1950s, without a safety system. I know a guy from Poperinge who lost 2 fingers in such a machine. The company tried to lay the responsibility for the accident on him..."

Broos, 21 years, Belgium

"You should see the taxes we have to pay at the end of the year! I got my tax adjustment after doing night shifts for one year. I had to pay 3,000 Euros because the temporary work agencies don't deduct enough taxes on wages. But they don't tell you that. Yes, I got a good salary, but at the end of the year, I had to pay additional taxes equal to two months' salaries. And that is a lot of money! I had asked them to deduct the maximum taxes at source. They said they would....3,000 euros in taxes, and the following year, 1,500 euros...

The promise of a permanent contract.

Through one interim agency I worked for more than a year in a steel company in Poperinge. It mostly manufactured truck parts. At the agency they said "It's a company which rapidly gives a fixed-term contract. You will be treated well and will get a good salary. And the work is not hard." The only thing they didn't lie about was the good salary.

Chus' Story - Spain

"False work, de-professionalisation, the abuse of debutants, formation that doesn't exist, no vacation, lack of materials and staff.."

Jesús Redondo Navarro, 27 years, Spain

Still I remember my first job as a Social Worker, when I was only 18 years old. I was an innocent boy and I looked forward to work, to do things, and most of all; to change the world....They promised me a job with a future. It was summer and if we consider "future" till September of the same year, well, that's exactly the time until I worked.

There I was, very eager to start, in front of the door of the Local Government of Granada, where they celebrated the Day Without Cars, a day which they used to try to make the society aware of using cars as less as possible.

Once I prepared my table to hold a workshop with kids, the boss was worried about me, rather about my inexperience, and so 5 minutes before starting, he explained to me what to do.

I had to make hats of foam rubber for all the kids who would come to my workshop during the next two hours. Not even 10 minutes passed by since the beginning of the workshop and already 20 of these little kids, together with their mummies and in some cases together with their grandmothers, were waiting for their little hat that never arrived, and when it arrived, let us say, it didn't convince a lot of the kids because I didn't have a lot of experience and no one explained to me before which tasks I had to do.

Anna's Story - Austria

"Sometimes I did not take the break because there was too much to do"

Anna Maria, 23, Austria

Anna Maria has completed her internship in the retail trade. During the practical training in a chain store, there was a theft valued at € 5,000 in the store and Anna and another colleague were dismissed.

She loved her job. It was good training and she learned many things, despite the difficult working hours. During the Christmas period for example, (from early December until January 6) nobody was allowed to leave. The December 24 and December 31, EVERYONE should be at the store until it closed. Only the official public holidays were days off.

During the trial period, Anna worked 40 hours a week plus overtime * (* during the trial period, this is actually illegal). At the end of trial period, she earned approximately € 1,000 per month. Her working hours were divided into different shifts throughout the day. She began very early in the morning and worked until very late at night. She was always the last to leave. The split shift (the pause) during the day was too short to go home. "Sometimes I did not take the break because there was too much to do"

Unemployment has placed Anna in a very difficult financial situation. She paid her rent late because she received only 450 € for unemployment benefits. (It was less than half of her previous income.) After a few months, Anna was forced to return to live with her mother. The rent she was paying was divided among five tenants and amounted to € 400 per month, so the unemployment benefits did not permit her to continue to share the apartment.

Anna seeks employment in the field of gastronomy or as a clerk. In fact, for now, she is ready to work anywhere, even as a cleaner. She just wants to do something.

Anna is also willing to work outside of Vienna. She wants her old job back because she felt very good there. She has already found a job as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant, but only 10 hours per week.

Erdijan's Story - Germany

"Some of the other employees didn't get protective clothing through their interim agency, so I don't want to wear mine either because I don't want to feel different from the others"

Erdijan, 18 years, Germany

Before our family escaped from the violence in our country, we lived in Kosovo. There we lived in Pristin, the capital.

In Germany we spent 3 months in a refugee camp. 13 people shared a room. After this time we moved to a flat from a charity organisation.

We now live with 5 people in our flat: my parents, my two brothers and me. My father works in a factory which produces bread. Additionally we get some money from the social welfare office.

Larysa's Story - Ukraine

"larysaAt first, I thought I would be working there for just a short time, so I accepted the work without contract, and within 2 years there was no proposal from the boss to transform this into a contract, until the law came in"

Larysa, 24 years, Ukraine

"I come from a village around 300km from L'viv, near the border with Belarus. In my home region, workers are employed in sausage-making factories, furniture manufacturing and milk and bread production, but I came to L'viv to continue studies in food technology at a technical college."

At that time she started her studies, the government was offering education for free, however, the students still had to pay for their exams, so Larysa was given the possibility to start her studies, but then had to find work to pay for her exams.

At first it was difficult to live in Lviv. Her parents were not living together and there were problems with money.

After finishing 4 years of study, Larysa now works as a bar maid in a student's café. She has been working there for five years, but for the first two years without a contract. When the government brought in regulations to force employers to have a contract, Larysa was granted a contract.

"At first, I thought I would be working there for just a short time, so I accepted the work without contract, and within 2 years there was no proposal from the boss to transform this into a contract, until the law came in"

Larysa works alone in the bar. Her tasks include serving at the bar, cleaning and making sure the restaurant is in order. She works 13 hours per day and normally takes 2 or 3 days off per month, and religious holidays. Her holidays depend on her. She receives a salary of 2000 UAH per month (approx €190). It is actually higher than what is written in her contract, as she receives bonus money informally (undeclared). If she misses a day of work, her salary will be less than 2000 UAH, and it's not possible to meet the expenses.

CAJ Germany

KAJ Flanders

JOC Wallonie-Bruxelles

International YCW