Italy: Unions call for regularisation of migrant workers in response to poor conditions, pandemic hazards

Author: Hsiao-Hung Pai, openDemocracy (UK), Published on: 19 May 2020

Italy’s all too revealing call for regularising migrant labour, 6 May 2020

...Most [Romanian migrant workers] work in the vegetable and fruits greenhouses, without contract, for an average of €30 a day. They are the workers of the EU periphery with no rights and no labour protection. For farmers here, employing Romanians also pose less risk of breaking the law by hiring undocumented migrants from outside the EU. They are employed en masse, and when they settle here, they become a reliable army of workers ready to tolerate the sweltering heat and long hours’ backbreaking work in the greenhouses for little reward...

Across Italy, African workers living in rural ghettoes, most of them without work, have been left to fend for themselves without even basic protection against Covid-19. In the province of Foggia, thousands of African workers still live in and around the demolished encampment of Borgo Mezzanone, without safety equipment such as masks and disinfectants...

In this context, the regularisation of migrant workers has emerged as a national debate once again. Many civil groups, NGOs and trade unions argue for regularising the country’s undocumented migrants. Unions said that regularisation of migrant workers in the Sicilian countryside is now “an unavoidable necessity”.

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