Reparations for Noé, Justice for Migrant Workers!
Our comrade and friend Noé Arteaga Santos has struggled for almost 7 years to get justice from Savoura, his former employer. Savoura is a Quebec-based tomato producer which relies on the labour of temporary migrant workers.
Noé came to Quebec in 2008 under the Temporary Foreign Workers programme, to work picking tomatoes for Savoura. Savoura abruptly terminated his contract and asked the Guatemalan consulate to intervene. The consulate forced him to return to Guatemala before the end of his contract. The role that he played in organizing a very short strike to demand that a sick co-worker receive medical care seems to have been the main reason he was deported.
With enormous courage and persistance, this migrant worker returned to Quebec and brought a human rights complaint against Savoura. More than six years later, the tribunal decided in his favour: Savoura fired Noé without just and sufficient cause. Moreover, Savoura contravened articles 10 and 16 of the Charter of rights and freedoms, discriminating against its workers on the basis of their ethnic origin and language (read the entire decision here: http://canlii.ca/t/gfqbm). This constitutes a huge victory, not only for Noé but for all temporary migrant workers and all farm workers, almost invisible in our society. Working in precarious conditions, often exploited by their employers, they provide us with food.
However, before an agreement on compensation for Noé was reached, Savoura declared bankruptcy.
We are now asking: WHO WILL PAY?
We are launching a compaign in solidarity with Noé and all temporary migrant workers, to demand that Savoura and the Quebec Minister of Labour assume their responsibilities in this affair.
We realize that, realistically, it is going to be a long time before the State and Capital agree to make reparations and stop exploiting workers … In the meantime, we are turning towards you, members of our communities, to ask for your support and solidarity, to provide the compensation due to him.
We are aiming for $50,000. This is the amount identified by Noé as damages in negotiations with Savoura. It is a calculated on the basis of $10,000 lost salary per year for five years. The money we gather will be used to reimburse Noé for previous costs in his campaign (airplane ticket for his deportation and return to Quebec, administrative legal fees, travel costs, etc.) as well as future legTFWP