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Well, make your mind up

It is the end of another day for Hassan, a migrant worker from Morocco who has spent the past 12 hours under a sweltering late summer sun harvesting vegetables in one of the vast greenhouses of Almería, southern Spain.

Like other workers in El Barranquete, Hassan says he earns only about €5 (£4.50) an hour, well under the legal minimum wage.

Spanish minimum wage is €1,000 and change a month. 12 hour days at €5 an hour are above that.

“Or when you look at the payslips, it says €58 a day, which is minimum wage


Sure, hard job for low wages in difficult conditions. But what actually is this minimum wage that isn’t being paid?

14 thoughts on “Well, make your mind up”

  1. From what I’ve heard, minimum wage is something only happens to the Spanish. There’s immigrants working on the Costa del Plastico for half that.

  2. He is the for the precise reason the Guardian wants him there – doing the low-paid job “the locals wont do”. Fucking chutzpah or what?

  3. There’s no conflict. He earns less than the minimum wage, but is paid the minimum wage. That’s what the minimum wage is, a legal floor to pay regardless of what the work is worth.

  4. 12 hours under a “sweltering” late-summer sun – OK, but I doubt the sun would be sweltering the whole 12 hours. But, he’s in a greenhouse where the microclimate is controlled so he’s not actually “under the sun”. Facts, who needs facts?

  5. The obvious solution is to prevent the importation of these poor exploited foreigners. Then they won’t be paid this miserable pittance.

  6. Presumably that’s €1,000 pro-rata, otherwise why not have eighteen hour shifts and seven day weeks?

    Pro-rata, for the Spanish nominal 40-hour week, €12,000 PA would be €5.75 PH. Is €5 “well under” €5.75? Probably not, but it is under.

  7. Would the late summer sun have been any less sweltering if Hassan had stayed at home and worked in Morocco? It’s hard to keep up with all this climate change stuff.

  8. What makes you think the Spanish work week is 40 hour? Or even that the min wage is pro rata? It’s not here in Portugal for example. Neither are in fact.

  9. Boganboy September 21, 2020 at 10:06 am – “The obvious solution is to prevent the importation of these poor exploited foreigners. Then they won’t be paid this miserable pittance.”

    Nor would he be exposed to Spanish racism. So a ban would be a win-win really.

  10. ‘When he first arrived in Spain’

    Wait . . . I see the problem right there.

    This horrid life is preferrible to going back.

    Well, now that the Guardian has revealed this, the Guardian will take out its wallet and help them. Wait . . . what?

  11. >What makes you think the Spanish working week is 40 hours?
    Admittedly I just googled it:
    >Or that the minimum wage is pro-rata
    This surely shakes out naturally if there’s a mandatory minimum wage per month and a mandatory maximum hours per week?

    Forgive me for asking a stupid question (and I mean that entirely unsarcastically; conveying tone in text is difficult), but how would a minimum wage work if it was not pro-rata? You could have two different hypothetical factories offering substantially the same job, one on 40-hour weeks and one on 60-hour weeks, and while they’d both be paying minimum wage, most people would not consider the wages to be the same

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