Italy: Union push brings breakthrough in protecting migrant worker rights
Sustained organizing and engagement by our Italian agro-food affiliate FLAI-CGIL has won landmark government action to protect the rights, health and safety of migrant workers in agriculture and other sectors.
The May 19 ‘Italy Recovery’ decree, effective immediately, regularizes the status of migrant workers in the country irrespective of their current status by providing a path to a renewable one-year residence permit. Regularization can be pursued either at the initiative of an employer, or directly by the individual – in both cases the union is offering its assistance and support.
In the union’s sectors the decrees apply to all workers employed in agriculture, breeding and animal husbandry, aquaculture, fishing and ‘related activities’, potentially offering a wide scope including retail, transport, agro-tourism etc. The regularization measures are implemented together with increased health and labour inspection, measures to tackle substandard migrant housing and tougher fines for non-compliant employers and gangmasters (labour contractors).
“The regularization of migrant workers is a really important advance towards ending labour exploitation and breaking the power of gangmasters in Italian agriculture”, said IUF General Secretary Sue Longley. “The regularization scheme, which comes after a long battle by the trade unions, will also give migrant workers the possibility to improve their housing – crucial in a health emergency.”