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Thursday 14 December 2017

EU work dream turned into nightmare for Filipino father

Work aboard a trawler involves long hours and poor pay for some foreign fishermen
Work aboard a trawler involves long hours and poor pay for some foreign fishermen
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A Filipino fisherman claims that his dream move to Ireland to provide for his family turned into a nightmare.

The man travelled to Europe to work on a fishing vessel in the belief the €3 a day wage (€900 or $1,000 a month) would transform the economic fortunes of his beloved family back in the Philippines.

But he said the long hours and hard work quickly changed his outlook.

"It was continuous working, day and night.

"I had to prepare gear, fix cables, stitch the nets. It was constant, constant."

Life then changed dramatically for the fisherman when he got sick and required medical attention on shore.

He lived on the boat while working and claimed that he was told he could not leave the vessel without permission.

He said he would often eat just a single meal a day.

When he was able to leave the boat, he said he would walk to local charity shops to buy second-hand clothing for his children back in the Philippines.


He said the bulk of his wages was sent directly to his family - but he kept about €200 a month for his own food, clothing and various expenses.

He said his meagre lifestyle generated sympathy from his Irish work colleagues who realised he was being paid roughly one-quarter of what they earned.

The man said he did not even realise he would be working in Ireland as the agent who recruited him said he would be working from a UK port.

Irish Independent

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