French baker hunger strike over trainee facing deportation

The baker is fighting for his apprentice - who arrived from Guinea two years ago aged 16 - to be allowed to stay in France

Published Last updated

A baker in Besançon began a hunger strike yesterday (January 3) to support his apprentice, who is facing deportation from France.

The apprentice, Laye Fodé Traoréiné, arrived in France illegally from the Republic of Guinea, aged 16. As he was a minor when he arrived, Mr Traoréiné was able to stay in France, but since turning 18 in April 2020 is now facing deportation.

Stéphane Ravacley, his employer, is going on hunger strike in protest.

He told news source FranceInfo: “It’s not normal that we make a young man who wants to work leave. He has potential and in our profession it’s so hard to find employees.”

Apprentice has learned French and worked since arrival

Since his arrival in France two years ago, Mr Traoréiné has learned French and begun training to become a baker, enrolling on the CAP bakery course which he is due to complete in June 2021.

He has been working in the boulangerie in Besançon for a year and a half, waking up at 3:00 each morning to go to work.

His employer described him as an “enthusiastic person who works well” and has confirmed that, if he were allowed to stay, Mr Traoréiné would have work at the boulangerie in Besançon for years to come.

Petition also launched

Mr Ravacley has also launched a petition online and in his bakery in support of his apprentice, which currently has over 17,500 signatures.

Contre l'expulsion de Laye notre apprenti boulanger à ses 18 ans. - Signez la pétition ! via @ChangeFrance

— Barat Pierre (@pierrebarat1) January 3, 2021

The online petition says Mr Traoréiné has no known family in the Republic of Guinea as he grew up in a care home and left the country for his safety, crossing Mali, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea, before arriving in Italy and taking a train, at random, to France.

Mr Traoréiné was originally supposed to be deported on January 2. A plea in opposition to the order asking him to leave the country has been filed with the administrative courts which will eventually decide his fate.

Related stories

Calais ‘Jungle’: 'You don’t expect to see that in Europe'

Marseille mayor welcomes Banksy rescue boat refugees

French town unites to assist migrants