Despite High Unemployment, Portugal Looks Far Afield for Workers
Portugal may have 15 percent unemployment, but that does not mean that Reiter Affiliated Companies, an American fruit producer, can find local people to pick berries on its 76-hectare farm here.
Last year, the company, also known as RAC, began a nationwide recruitment campaign and hired 40 Portuguese. Half quit after the first day. By the end of the week, not a single one was left.
“They wanted a job, but this wasn’t what they were looking for, because it was basically too hard for too little money,” said Arnulfo Murillo, the farm’s production manager. “Farming here isn’t harder than in America, but the big difference is that being unemployed in the U.S. is a lot harder and in no way an attractive alternative.”
Instead, the farm has imported a third of its labor force all the way from Thailand — 160 of 450 employees — a more expensive alternative, but one that has filled its ranks.
The reasons the farm work does not appeal to the Portuguese are complex, but they boil down to one simple fact: It makes little economic sense. That predicament says a lot about the challenges facing the country, and much of the rest of Europe, as it struggles to gain economic traction and foster opportunities, especially for its younger generation.
On voit le même phénomène au Québec, malgré le taux de chômage élevé, on fait venir des Mexicains pour travailler dans les champs.
Quand un État omnipotent transforme le filet de sécurité sociale en confortable hamac, il est plus avantageux pour les gens de se faire vivre par les autres que de contribuer à la société… Jusqu’au jour où il ne reste plus assez de gens pour payer le confortable hamac…