Author: Daniël Verhoeven
GreenHouse NV, sometimes named GreenHouse – Aldron says to employ more than 1500 people. It’s a typical dienstencheques company. In fact it’s a huge subcontractor, but it only provides labour resources that can be paid with ‘dienstencheques’, a Belgian system that functions since July 2001 but doesn’t exist In another country. That’s why I use the Dutch term, there isn’t a translation, as far as I know.
The laws regulating ‘dienstencheques’ can be found here. Not surprisingly Greenhouse’s clients are mostly house holds, but also event organisers, caterers… The jobs they provide are domestic work, ironing, cleaning, cooking, serving, etc. They work also for big companies and public services, at least thye offered their services to the Ghent government as you can see here. One can find a lot of Greenhouse vacancies on the web. They even have a page on Facebook. One can see that a lot of effort is paid in luring clients and low-cost workers. In Dutch we say, klotejobs.
They stipulate on their website some requirements if you want a one of the jobs they offer:
- sense of order and cleanliness
- like household work: cleaning, tidying, ironing, etc. ..
- initiative and work independently
- discretely and accurately, and have a neat appearance
- Certificate of good conduct
- Have transportation: car, motorbike or bicycle
- Succeed in our selection
They claim that they offer a lot to their workers:
- a contract of indefinite duration after the first day in service
- excellent salary and working conditions, higher joint committee 322.01
- year-end bonus, holiday pay, travel allowance
- telephone allowance and any stamps
- practice guidance by a coach and a consultant
- a job which you can combine with your family: create your work schedule together
- a job in a stable company with a very accurate records
- customers in your area
- staff party, staff paper, matches, etc. ..
- Greenhouse Benefits Package: buy cheap and GH staff in many commercial
- union premium
- a fun and varied training programs offered in the greenhouse Academy
- work clothes + clothing allowance for maintenance work
So it looks like a honest firm, but is it? Let’s listen to the story of Khadija Mimosa (*) that was told to us by her friends and by her self. She is a refugee who tries to regulate her irregular stay in Belgium using article 9bis by getting a work permit B that makes her residence regular. The conditions are:
- Maximum validity period: one year
- Valid for only one employer. When having to change employer, because DVZ taked to long deciding your case, you have to ask him to apply for a new work permi B
- Employer has to submit the application within three months. It’s one of the 3 regions or gewesten, Flanders, Brussels or Wallonia, that delivers work permit B, while regularistion is a Federal matter decided by DVZ
There are plenty of additional conditions,concerning the contract and the workplace, one must be paid at least the minimum wages, one should be full employed etc.. You can read all about it here in Dutch, and here in French.
So Kadija got a valuable and full contract (38hrs) from Greenhouse in November 2010 stating she could start to work in April 2011.The contract was signed by the employer. She has some proof in her hands, Greenhouse now should apply for work permit B. The ultimate day for application was 8 February 2011. Kadija informed about the progress of the application with her future employer, but there wasn’t any. One employee was in maternity leave, ther was always some excuse…
On 18 January Mrs. Justyna, the responsible for Kadija’s dossier at Greenhouse informed us that Kadija Mimosa would NOT get a work permit from Greenhouse. Well of course we were flabbergasted… They cannot refuse work permit B after having given Kadija a contract.
We do not know why Greenhouse refused, they offer no explanation. Maybe they want Kandija to stay irregular so she can be employed illegally and at still lower costs. Maybe there is some other fraud we can not see for the moment or is it racism?
Anyway we advised her to become a member of the trade Union and ask for support. Se was invited by Jippie Agten at the ‘Algemene Centrale’, the trade Union for all kind of trades, also for domestic workers an restaurant workers. They have a copy of the contract now and are going to inquire into this case of blatant abuse.
Kadija went to the VDAB afterwards to ask for advice. At the VDAB, that seems to work a lot with Amadecasa, they advised Kadija to apply at Amadecasa. She did, she got a contract immediately and the application for work permit B has left the offices of Amadecasa already. ABVV had also had found a company for Kadija, namely Gia – Cataro that works with dienstencheques for domestic workers. Well, e nd good all good. Kadija is a trade union woman now, but Greenhouse cannot be left alone with this kind of practices. Maybe we can try their Facebook page to put some questions?
Greenhouse seems to have noticed after numerous telephone calls from us and from the trade union, something could play wrong for them. They invited Kadija to Kortrijk by email, the main seat of the company – while before everything was arranged in Halle – to have a talk. We have decided not to pay travel costs fot that. To late, to little prospects. As long as they do not state on paper that (1) they were wrong and (2) they offer a contract and have applied for work permit B, we have no business with them anymore and we advise others to do the same.
(*) We have changed the real name for reasons of privacy
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