Name
Serge
Job title
Agricultural Worker

In 2004, 24-year-old Serge came from Ukraine to work in the UK with a visa to work issued through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers scheme.

After a 45-hour bus journey from Ukraine, he finally arrived in the UK hoping for a better life. He found himself instead sharing a caravan on a farm in the Midlands with five others.

He had no idea how hard picking strawberries for 12 hours a day, six days a week, would be.

The pain was terrible,

The maximum he could earn was £40 a day, or £240 a week. But he was charged £30 a week for his corner of the caravan.

After three months he could stand it no longer.

He walked out of his farm job and found a job on a construction site - work which his documents did not cover.

He was paid £50 a day, less than half what his fellow workers are paid for the same job. He lived in London with several other Ukrainians, who were all trying to save enough to go back home.

Of course it was dangerous work. I felt tired, very tired, and nervous all the time...but I imagined what I could do with £100 in the Ukraine and I felt better.”

Stepan Shakhno (2004) Gone West – the harsh realities of Ukrainians at work in the UK