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Tom Joyce



Friday 19th April 2013, 13:02 London

Strawberry pickers shot in Peloponnese

Supervisors of a strawberry farm in Greece's Peloponnese region have reportedly wounded 28 workers following a pay dispute

Strawberry pickers shot in Peloponnese

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Police in the southern Peloponnese region of Greece have arrested three foremen of a strawberry farm on suspicion of shooting 28 Bangladeshi workers protesting over six months' unpaid wages.

Witnesses to the incident, which occurred on Wednesday near the town of Nea Manolada, said that the foremen pulled out shotguns and began firing into the crowd of around 200 fruit pickers.

Although none were wounded fatally, seven workers remain in hospital, according to a report in the New York Times, one with serious injuries.

The owner of the farm was apparently away in Athens at the time, but police revealed that he has also been arrested and charged as a moral accomplice to attempted manslaughter.

According to one Greek exporter, the owner is better known as an importer, especially of bananas, having only decided to invest in strawberry production this year.

The events of this week could be catastrophic for the man's business, as Greek supermarkets quickly act to remove his company's products from their shelves.

One of the men involved in the shooting is already awaiting trial for an attack almost a year ago, in which an Egyptian worker was jammed in a car window by the head and dragged down a road, the New York Times reported.

There are around 1,000-2,000ha of strawberry plantations in this area of Greece, with the majority of harvesting done by immigrant workers staying in simple accommodation and earning less than the minimum wage, another exporter told Eurofruit. He estimated their pay at around €22-23 per seven-hour shift.

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