Teenage forced labour in the USA and the “Kellys” fight for the rights of cleaners

According to the U.S. Department of Labour, Packer Sanitation Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest food safety sanitation services providers, has illegally employed at least 31 young people between the ages of 13 and 17. Among other activities, teens carried out work through the night, cleaning floors and other areas where animals are slaughtered, at several meats packing plants in the Midwest. JBS USA Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of JBS Foods S.A., the world’s largest meat processor, owns these plants. Several employees suffered injuries and chemical burns during the work.

A subsidiary of French construction company Vinci, Vinci Construction Grands Projects, has been charged with preliminary allegations of forced labour and other possible violations of the rights of migrant workers employed for the construction of the World Cup infrastructure in Qatar. Allegations include holding many people in captivity for forced labour, detaining workers in conditions and accommodations that offend human dignity, and soliciting services from vulnerable or dependent persons.

Occupational diseases trouble many of the 30,000 hotel cleaners in Spain’s Balearic Islands. That is why an association of cleaning ladies called “Kellys”, which is an acronym for ‘Las que limpian’ (in Spanish: ‘those who clean’), has been fighting for better working conditions for years. In October this year, during a visit to Mallorca, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez promised that his government would work to improve the employment conditions of cleaners.

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