Covid-19, like a litmus test, has brought out the scourges of society. A rickety public health from divestments, serious inequalities at the expense of most categories vulnerable, an agriculture still plagued by agromafie e caporalato.
It is now urgent to regularize foreign workers in agriculture, also to guarantee the safety of fruit and vegetable supplies in Italy. And in other sectors, for the dignity of those who participate in the community and the health of the community itself. A petition.
Act now to protect workers and agriculture in Italy
Flai CGIL e Land! Onlus on 20.3.20, they addressed an appeal to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and to the ministers Teresa Bellanova (Agriculture), Nunzia Catalfo (Labor), Lamorgese (Interior), Roberto Speranza (Health) and Provenzano (South). (1)
The prefects, it is emphasized in the letter, are invested with new powers in this regard. They in fact 'they can adopt provisions aimed at securing migrants and asylum seekers present in the area, by setting up or requisitioning properties for housing purposes.
Due to Covid-19 there was a massive return by immigrant agricultural workers from Romania and Bulgaria. Arrivals expected from Poland [and various other countries, ed.] have cleared. Non-EU workers who find themselves in irregular conditions can fill this void, but their fundamental rights must be guaranteed.
Many foreigners today they find themselves in conditions of irregularities exacerbated by security decrees and do not go in search of work for fear of being stopped at roadblocks. Their regularization is therefore fundamental, to bring out those who are forced to live and work in irregular conditions. [...]
It is necessary, therefore, strengthen the measures to combat illegal work and encourage the hiring of those who are working illegally, by applying agricultural collective agreements. '
According to more recent estimates (ISPI, 2020) there are approximately 600 irregular migrants. (2) They generally live in small overcrowded lodgings, sometimes in shacks with no sanitation facilities. They also work in poor health conditions and seek medical assistance only in case of serious illness. Too late, evidently, to contain possible infections.
At the end of March the Ministry of the Interior provided an initial response, however partial and transitory. By automatically extending the expiry of residence permits, for seasonal workers until 15.6.20. However, without solving either the summer emergency or the underlying structural problem.
Regularize all the workers, the petition
The regularization it is essential not only to laborers, but also to domestic workers and carers. It is therefore necessary to integrate the draft law decree currently under discussion, which limits this possibility to the agriculture, fishing and forestry sectors.
Over 360 teachers university students propose to issue all irregular foreigners a residence permit for asylum, to be used immediately for registration with the SSN (National Health Service) and the Employment Center.
The employers they must bring out the irregular positions with declarations that allow migrants to obtain residence permits and temporary work. Among other things, regularization makes it possible to contribute to the financing of the onerous public commitments necessary to overcome the crisis.
The petition Rights and dignity for invisible laborers, addressed to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, can be signed through the link https://www.change.org/p/giuseppe-conte-diritti-e-dignit%C3%A0-per-i-braccianti-invisibili.
Peasant agriculture, urgent priorities
ARI - Italian Rural Association, or Assorurale - together with AIAB (Italian Association for Organic Agriculture), represents the movement of peasant agriculture in Italy. Under the international coordination of the Via Campesina, made up of 182 organizations in 81 countries.
Urgent priorities indicated by ARI - Assorurale in this historical phase, as is logical, are therefore:
- amnesty and regularization of all migrants who work in the countryside, to guarantee them access to essential rights. Decent wages, work safety, health care,
- Job contracts. THE voucher agricultural products must be used only in the cases already provided for by law, that is to say in favor of pensioners, students and the unemployed within a maximum limit of € 5 / year per company.
Absorb also calls for the recognition and protection ofpeasant agriculture, also through a law that has already been defined but it has still been awaiting approval in the Italian Parliament for over 10 years. (3)
Dario Dongo e Giulia Caddeo
(3) ARI - Absorural. COVID 19. The peasant economy and the impact that will come. 5.5.20, http://www.assorurale.it/fase_2_che_fare.html