In July 2020, Ethical Consumer ran a crowdfunding campaign to provide emergency support during the first pandemic lockdown for migrant labourers working in southern Spain. We have been campaigning for over two years to highlight the exploitative working conditions in the region, which supplies many of the fresh vegetables in UK supermarkets.
In December, a representative of the SAT Union in Huelva was threatened with legal charges by the Spanish police, seemingly over the installation of solar panels that were funded by our crowdfunding campaign.
José Antonio Brazo says that the Civil Guard, the Spanish police, told him at the end of December that he was being investigated in relation to crimes related to "land planning." The penalty for this crime could be up to four years in prison.
The Civil Guard said that the Lucena del Puerto City Council was behind the accusation. So far, the authorities have refused to provide specific details about why he is being investigated, but the company responsible for the installation of the 6 solar panels has also been informed that they are being investigated for the same crime. Both he and the solar panel installers are awaiting a court summons.
As of March 2021, there are no updates on when they will be summoned.
José told us, “Some of the money from the Ethical Consumer crowdfunder was used to buy photovoltaic solar energy equipment, which provides light, mobile phone charging, and powers a communal freezer in the shantytowns. The four solar panels have improved the lives of migrants – even if they’re not yet living the dignified life they deserve.”
“The only crime that’s been committed is helping install solar panels in an immigrant shantytown. Solidarity isn’t a crime.”