Satnam Singh’s Death is a desperate plea to End Exploitation and Violence in European Agriculture

EFFAT Resolution, as approved by the EFFAT Agriculture General Assembly

3 July 2024

The recent death of Satnam Singh, a 31-year-old Indian farm worker employed in the Italian province of Latina, is an unacceptable tragedy that cannot be described as an accident.

The idea that profit comes before workers’ rights and human life is a sad reality of the agriculture sector.

It shows that the production model in agriculture involves the exploitation of human beings and does not exclude tragedies.

What happened to Satnam Singh is not an isolated episode. Similar tragedies occur across Europe. Last year we learnt about the death of six seasonal workers in the Champagne region (France), this year, again, In Latina.

Satnam’s death was brutal: he was abandoned with his severed arm in a fruit box and left to die in an inhuman condition in front of his domicile.

EFFAT is shocked by the violence of this death and is preparing to lead a fight for a sustainable, just and fair agricultural system that respects the lives and dignity of workers in the sector.

EFFAT urges the EU Institutions and national governments to listen to what has become a life-or death call raised by agricultural trade unions and their members across Europe.

The introduction of Social Conditionality in the CAP marks one of EFFAT’s most important victories. It is urgent that the EU Institutions and national governments enforce, strengthen and implement the legal framework governing social conditionality. We cannot accept that the company where Satnam Singh worked received European public funds as well as national funds.

We urge to support EFFAT demands to make the Common Agricultural Policy fairer for working people. CAP today focuses too much on productivity and prices and very little on the living conditions of the 10 million agricultural workers in Europe.

Our demands will remain a strategic priority for EFFAT in the years to come, as it is our call for an EU Directive that regulates labour intermediation and grants fair working conditions across subcontracting chains; a binding text that also increases the frequency and bolsters the effectiveness of labour inspections, particularly in fraud sensitive sectors like agriculture.

The death of Satnam Singh and the deplorable conditions that millions of agricultural workers still face in Europe are a wake-up call for national governments and the EU Institutions, particularly in the current context of intense dialogue about the future of the European Agriculture sector.

There is NO sustainable agriculture model without decent work.

EFFAT Resolution – Final