We were promised between €8 and €9
In autumn 2014, the German capital opened, with great pomp, the “Mall of Berlin”, a giant new shopping centre right in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw away from the Brandenburg Gate.
A few weeks later, the scandal broke out: around thirty Romanians who had worked on the mall’s construction were still owed several months’ wages. Ovidiu is one of them.
He has been living in Berlin for a number of years. In summer 2014, one of the site managers persuaded him to go and work on the construction of the future shopping mall.
“We were promised between €8 and €9 an hour. We were, in fact, paid €6 an hour,” explains Ovidiu.
This is far below the hourly minimum wage of €10.75 applicable in Germany’s building and public works sector. The workers, moreover, were never given a contract, despite their repeated demands. “We worked for two months like that, being paid every two weeks. But then the payments stopped.”