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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Migrants facing 'racial tension'
Factory work
Most migrants work in the agricultural sector
Community leaders say migrant workers are facing increasing racial tension in parts of Lincolnshire.

Recep Eksi, who runs an employment agency in Boston, says race attacks have risen in the Lincolnshire town in the past few months.

"Some of my friends have been attacked both physically and verbally," Mr Eksi told BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

"The problem comes from a handful of people - but I feel there is a lack of readiness to welcome the immigrants."

Mr Eksi, who is from Turkey, works with a number of nationalities including Turks, Portuguese, Iraqis, Kurds and Poles.

Facing exploitation

Boston Borough councillor Joyce Dobson said she is disgusted that some people are being singled out.

"It is very sad that people who look differently are treated poorly - they are all part of this area and they are entitled to be here."

Most of the migrant workers are housed in the private sector - and there are some tensions that arise
Andy Statham, Boston Borough Council

The migrant population in the Boston area is estimated at about 8,000 people - with 3,000 Portuguese nationals living in the town.

More than half the 70,000 agricultural and horticultural workers in the area are believed to be migrants.

Andy Statham of Boston Borough Council said: "It is not just a Boston issue but a Fenlands issue that spreads into Cambridgeshire - the agricultural season has been increased and there is always something to be picked, packed and processed.

"They need a social life and access to community services - but there is exploitation of these workers in their work and their housing.

"We need to make sure there are basic decent standards of accommodation for all people regardless of where they come from," he said.

"There is a growing demand for labour in this area - and most of the migrant workers are housed in the private sector - and there are some tensions that arise."

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