A new summer harvesting season is just starting. Thousands of mobile, seasonal and migrant workers will be heading to the European fields, providing food for all of us. However, while they carry out essential work many of them will be lacking crucial information on their labour and social rights.
To change this reality, and as part of the project ‘Information and Advice for Migrant and Seasonal Workers in European Agriculture’, EFFAT has developed Season@Work: a webpage and a mobile application designed to provide migrant and seasonal workers in European agriculture with relevant mother-tongue information on their rights as well as with the contact of national agricultural trade unions to find practical assistance related to day-to-day matters.
European agriculture employs approximately 10 million workers, of which about 4 million are temporary migrant and seasonal workers whose country of origin is an EU member state or a third countries. While they’re the backbone of the sector, a vast proportion of them remain vulnerable, isolated and discriminated due to challenging working conditions, deplorable housing, poor wages , language barriers and overall lack of knowledge of their rights in the host countries.
Launching this new tool Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT Secretary General, said: ‘Through the app, seasonal workers will get easy access to information about their rights and the applicable working conditions in the country of destination. This information will be of great help and will give the possibility to actually experience decent employment’.
Season@Work includes short informative videos in the native language of the workers. The videos touch upon relevant topics, such as information on applicable labour standards resulting from law and applicable collective agreements including occupational health and safety, unemployment benefits, job search, social protection, applicable minimum wage as well as practical information in case of occupational illness or accident. The application also refers to relevant points of contact in the country of work and origin including trade unions, social security institutions and enforcement authorities centres along with other info material.
All the information is developed for 8 different countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain) in 11 different languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Portuguese, Arabic and Ukrainian).
The webpage and the mobile application are further tools to strengthen communication with migrant and seasonal workers and to offer practical means for reaching out to the most vulnerable and isolated groups.
With this project, EFFAT further contributes to implementing the Joint Declaration of the social partners in European agriculture on the deployment of seasonal workers from European countries in the EU of 15 May 2020 and the European Commission’s guidelines from 16 July 2020, intended to give protection to seasonal workers in the EU and ensure equal treatment and decent employment conditions.
EFFAT launched Season@Work at the final project conference attended by EU institutions, policy makers, experts, and fellow trade union affiliates of the agriculture sector.