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3 Apr 2020


Ecuador and Peru: Agricultural workers risk infection of COVID-19 but fear losing their jobs if they stay at home

“Agricultural workers exposed to COVID-19 infection risks in Ecuador and Peru”, 2nd April 2020

…In Latin America several countries have declared states of emergency and adopted protective measures such as curfews, quarantines and school and workplace closures to limit the spread. However, in Ecuador and Peru agricultural workers say they are exposed to working conditions that put them at risk of being infected, while fearing they will lose their jobs if they stay at home…

According to human rights organisation La Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Ica (CODEHICA), workers in Peru’s Ica valley report being threatened with dismissal if they fail to show up for work, even if they feel ill or belong to a high-risk group. Agricultural company vehicles transporting them to work are usually crowded and workers cannot maintain a safe distance as recommended by health authorities…

In Ecuador, the labour rights organisation Asociación Sindical de Trabajadores Agrícolas y Campesinos (ASTAC), reports a lack of protective measures in the banana sector. Many workers in plantations producing bananas for export have no social security coverage and little access to adequate health care… many women work excessive hours and are concerned about vulnerable family members at home alone ...

Both ASTAC and CODEHICA have called on authorities and companies to take urgent measures to protect the health and wellbeing of workers.