Thai berry pickers return home without pay

The 150 berry pickers who have protested in Umeå, northern Sweden for nearly two weeks will return to Thailand without being paid, but the Thai state has vowed to help them sue their employers.

The local Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper reported that the Thai workers will probably leave Sweden on Monday and that the Thai state will help them take legal action against the recruitment company in Thailand that hired them.

Suing the company would not cost anything for the berry pickers and a solution could be presented within 45 days.

At a press conference on Sunday, it became clear that the Thai workers are happy to go home, Swedish Radio News reported. The union Kommunal and the Thai Department of Employment participated in the press conference.

Around 150 Thai berry pickers have camped out at a parking lot in Umeå since last Tuesday in protest against their Thai employers, who had not paid their wages. They are the latest group of workers to have come to Sweden thinking they would earn good money picking berries, but who instead ended up living in poor conditions.