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Migrant farmers discriminated after joining union

DEREK BEDRY, 24 HOURS
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union brought in a man dressed as Santa Claus and a choir of carolers to draw attention to their rally supporting migrant farm workers who were discriminated after they joined a workers' union. (DEREK BEDRY/24 HOURS)

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union brought in a man dressed as Santa Claus and a choir of carolers to draw attention to their rally supporting migrant farm workers who were discriminated after they joined a workers' union. (DEREK BEDRY/24 HOURS)

B.C.'s government and the Mexican consulate are on Santa's naughty list for discriminating against migrant farmers, said the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

At Library Square on Sunday, the UFCW alleged the Mexican government blacklisted certain seasonal farm workers, barring them from returning to work after they became part of the union last year. The UFCW also alleges workers routinely experience poor working conditions and low pay.

"We found out through leaked documents that these farm workers (did not return) the next season due to the fact that they were union sympathizers," said UFCW spokeswoman Hanane Benzidane. "We have a case right now with the B.C. Labour Relations board saying our government can't allow (the workers') rights to be violated."

The UFCW was joined by the Solidarity Notes choir, singing Christmas carols with words altered to make their point, and by an activist Santa Claus.