The Tree Workers Case

(documentary feature 52 minutes)

The Tree Workers Case is a documentary film about one of the greatest cases of unfair worker exploitation to be uncovered in Europe over the last twenty years. Approximately 2000 workers were ruthlessly exploited in the Czech Republic from 2009 to 2010.

Pham Hung Long from Viet Nam is one of the victims. He was hired by the job placement agency Affumicata for the Czech forestry company Less & Forest, which in turn was contracted by the state run forest authority Lesy Ceske republiky.

Long is the first person to speak openly about how he was lured with false promises and then defrauded. A group of committed attorneys and human rights activists took up his case. The deeper they delved into the details, the more shocking the situation became. Forged contracts, inhuman working conditions, faulty equipment, unpaid wages, barely enough to eat, horrid housing and the constant fear of violence are the conditions they found.

Long's inhuman suffering in the Czech labour system and his involvement in the so-called Tree Workers Case expose a new kind of worker exploitation, made possible by the job market conditions right in the middle of Europe. The film points out how profit maximization and fierce competition in the global job market lead to wages well below the living wage, temporary contracts and finally to exploitation. Unfortunately, comparable cases can be found everywhere.