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Broos' Story

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"When you have worked for over a year with temporary contracts and then they give you three 6-month contract, they must know whether you are good enough for the job"

Broos, 20 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.

As far as the work was concerned, I had to carry 30-40 kilo metal parts and place them on a machine. To process one part, I had to reposition it 4 times and I was doing 300-400 pieces a day. And every day we had to process at least 200 pieces, otherwise they would say "but what did you do today?". After a day like that, I was going home completely exhausted. And the following day, I had to go back! That was really tough! But you get used to it after one week.

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...

I think it's outrageous that they can keep you more than a year as a temporary worker. After that, I had a six-month temporary contract, then another one, and when the last contract was over, they fired me. Reason: the financial crisis. What a joke!?

I thought that I was going to be able to stay because I had been working there for such a long time

When you have worked for over a year with temporary contracts and then they give you three 6-month contract, they must know whether you are good enough for the job. I felt really bad when I had to leave. I thought that I was going to be able to stay because I had been working there for such a long time.

I think there should be a limit for temporary work. I know people who have been working in the same company for 3 or 4 years with temporary contracts.

And safety doesn't matter either! I had to work in a manure factory. I had to work with ammonia and other chemicals wearing only an anti-dust mask. That was a job I found through another interim agency.

One day I protested as a temporary worker in a factory which manufactured frozen products. An interim agency had given me a job as a packaging operator. When I arrived at the company, the boss told me I would have to remove the rotten French fries. I replied that I had not been hired for that and I wouldn't do it. Then he told me I could leave and I should not come back.

Same thing at Bellewaerde. I was hired as an attraction operator, but I had to do a little bit of everything. One day, after 8 hours of work, my boss told me I should stay to make sausages until midnight. I replied, I'm sorry, but my 8 hours are finished, so I'm going home."  He fired me...

In addition, they should tell you clearly what you are going to earn in your job. Most of the time they inform you of the gross salary, then you think you're going to have a good salary, until you get the papers...For instance, at Bellewaerde, I was earning 6.70 euros an hour. I'm sorry but you give that to someone who is looking for a holiday job, not to someone who is working fulltime. It's not even 1000 Euros per month. Then it is better to remain jobless, you earn more....

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