abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb
Article

27 Apr 2020

Author:
Leila Bodeux & Davide Gnes, EU Observer

Undocumented workers are Covid-19 'elephant in room'

See all tags

Over the last few weeks, politicians and business associations have sounded the alarm on the disruption in Europe's food supply chains, and particularly in agriculture.

Lockdown measures, the halt to intra-EU circulation and the ban on international travel to Europe have left farmers across Europe facing a shortage of hundreds of thousands of workers.

This alludes to a pan European and systemic issue: from Spain and Italy to France, Belgium, or Poland, harvests are under threat and Europeans are entirely dependent on the hard labour and sweat of foreign-born workers...

Critically, research has shown that many of the agricultural labourers are working the informal economy, in irregular and precarious situations, and/or may be lacking an official work contract...

Lack of legal status has made workers in agriculture particularly vulnerable to physical and psychological abuse and labour exploitation. Covid-19 has exacerbated this reality...

These developments have prompted the Italian ministry of agriculture, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) and civil society to finally break a taboo: call for regularisation.

Portugal has been rightly praised for its decision to grant temporary residency rights to immigrants and asylum seekers until July 1st...

Those are welcome first steps, unavoidable from a public health perspective, but bolder decisions are needed.

Timeline