Ukrainian refugees in conflict with conniving boss

The Netherlands has received a number of Ukrainian refugees over the past two years.

The government and local authorities have made multiple statements of how they stand with the ukrainian people, how they will offer them safety and even the opportunity for work. What was not discussed was the vulnerability of these newly arrived workers in the Dutch labor market. And indeed, we are seeing what we feared. Ukrainians used as cheap, easily expendable labor. The same fate that so many other refugees with resident status have in Europe.

A group of Ukrainian people, currently housed in Amsterdam, were hired by a Dutch cleaning agency. They cleaned hotel rooms in the city center. The company: Glanstastisch Schoon. The owner of the company and employer: Irshaad Kariman. Despite all their hard work, Kariman fired them and did not pay them all the wages he owed them. He claims to have gone bankrupt, and refuses to communicate with them about their money. He also claimed that he is meeting financial advisors to find a solution. The cheated workers have decided to support each other in their claims against this exploitative business owner. All they ask for, is the money they are owed. And for Kariman to take responsibility for his actions.

We, as members of Vloerwerk and Horeca United support these workers and their campaign against the fraudulent employer. We have interviewed some of them to share their working conditions, their demands, and their experience in the Dutch labor market.

Here is what two of they’ve had to say for themselves (machine translated from the original Russian):


  I am Alevtina Savenkova. I have been in the Netherlands for 8 months.

  The job at Glanstastisch Schoon was my first job.

  The only problems I had at work were with the team, because they did not treat me humanely. They were rude, abusive, they shouted at me, brought me to tears almost every day. Each time I complained to management, they promised to deal with the problem, but nothing changed, you can say that it got worse, so I could not bear it anymore.

  Yes, my life was affected. I could not send money home before the beginning of the year, and at home I have a small daughter of 4 years waiting for me, and I’m left without money; I’ve begun to hardly trust people when I go for a job, and even when I have already signed a contract I have no trust and I am always waiting for a catch. I do not want problems and do not want to create them; I just want to get what I’ve honestly earned with my blood, sweat, and tears. And to forget it all like a terrible dream.


  Hello, my name is Alexander.

  I worked for Glanstastisch Schoon from the middle of December 2023 until the end of March 2024.

  It was my first job in the Netherlands and it was the most unpleasant experience, because I was cheated.

  I had no problems at work, I was happy with everything and did a good job.

  I have claims to payments – the first and second salary were delayed, and after that [Kariman] stopped paying me altogether.

  Over time I found out that he’d cheated not only me, but my friends and acquaintances too, and we decided to unite.

  I want me and my friends to be paid for the work done.

  Because of this situation I have psychological and financial problems. It has become very difficult. The gemeente thinks I have a job and therefore money too, and have cancelled my financial support. And so I’ve been left without money at all!

  I feel a sense of pride and justice that there are so many of us and because we stand up for our rights! I am very angry at the realisation that we were cheated and for our labour, he took all the money for himself.

  Deception is a thin thread that breaks under the weight of the truth! You can’t feed on deceit! By deceiving people you deceive yourself. So an eye for an eye.