Officers from the National Police have arrested two people in connection with an alleged
labour exploitation offence in an agricultural and livestock farm in Almoradí. One of the
detainees is an entrepreneur who had allegedly given instructions to employees – usually
foreigners in the country without papers – to hide in the manure heap on the farm to avoid
detection should any officials came calling.
The two are alleged to have committed a crime of documentary misrepresentation and crimes
against the rights of workers. Police were alerted to a potentially illegal situation at the farm
following a complaint lodged at police stations in Murcia, tipping officers off regarding a
series of irregularities within the small holding.
Officers from the National Police began a joint investigation and verified that at the farm
appeared to be committing irregularities in the level of labour it employed. In addition, the
company did not have the required safety equipment which is included in the regulations on
the Prevention of Occupational Risks. Owners were also leasing accommodation to the
workers, which were little more that ‘booths’ located inside the farm, some of them with
‘very little safety conditions or comforts’.
At the time of the police and labour inspection, two retired foreign nationals were also
working.
According to the statements of those involved, it is believed that the employer allegedly used
to hire foreigners who were desperate for work as they had no official or legal paperwork. It
is said that the employer gave them strict instructions on how to act in case of a police
presence, such as hiding in the manure heap on the farm ‘to avoid detection’.
In addition, the farm manager is alleged to have made up an employment relationship with
another person in order for the pretend worker to obtain certain ‘administrative benefits’ for
foreigners through a false work contract. This falsehood was detected by the Office of
Foreigners in Murcia and notice was given to the Labour Inspection Unit of Alicante, which
annulled all fraudulent benefits of this alleged worker.
The investigators have arrested the employer and the person who simulated this non-existent
employment relationship and who was also in an irregular situation in Spain. Both, after
being heard in court have been released with charges.