The Lithuanian Embassy said on Tuesday it is looking into an incident in Copenhagen where, based on local media reports, Danish workers attacked Lithuanians labourers at a building site.
Danish newspapers Ekstrabladet’s website reported that several hundred Danish workers gathered in the Norrebro area of Copenhagen to protest over working conditions and eventually attacked the Lithuanians.
The workers from Lithuania tried to hide in a car but protesters dropped scaffolding on top of it, seen in a dramatic video posted by the Danish tabloid, Ekstrabladet.
Rasmus Kreutzmann, the secretary of Danish trade union 3F, said the protest was held to express dissatisfaction with building contractors. “Lithuanians work here and they are paid much less than allowed, and sometimes they receive ‘black’ money. Also, they work longer than allowed,” he said. The scaffolding was toppled on Friday, but another fight took place on Sunday at a construction site when several 3F and Danish Electricity Federation representatives arrived to record the working conditions, according to the 3F trade union. An eye witness, Daniel Dyhrberg, told 3F that four Lithuanian-speaking individuals surrounded the two union reps, and later, one of them was allegedly punched by a Lithuanian worker.
Vaidotas Karvelis, a minister-counselor at the Lithuanian Embassy in Denmark, told BNS he only has information based on the media reports.
“Nobody has turned to the embassy over this. Neither the Lithuanians themselves, nor the Danish police or another institution,” the diplomat said. “We have channels within trade unions so we are looking for more information. It’s not always easy to make any conclusions from initial sources.” The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told LRT.lt that “Lithuanian diplomats are in contact with the construction workers, as well as Danish institutions”.
Karvelis called on the Lithuanian victims to turn to the embassy. “We do not ignore such cases as we care about the situation of our nationals. But they don’t always know who to turn to or have some other motives,” the embassy representative said.
Some 20,000 Lithuanians live in Denmark, based on figures from the Lithuanian Embassy. Danmark’s trade unions say social dumping by employers to drive down the wages is an acute problem in the country. Every third workers in forestry, fishing, and agriculture in the country is a foreigner, according to Danish media TV2 quoted by thelocal.dk.