As European countries keep working on their preparedness to face the new challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, EFFAT is leaving behind another year of hard work, devoted to the protection of million workers in the Agriculture, Food, Tourism and Domestic Work in Europe.
Certainly, we would have preferred for it to be a year full of face-to-face meeting with affiliates and partners, handshakes with workers and fruitful live discussions with social partners and EU policy makers on how to secure fairer food systems and working conditions for our workers, along with more viable industrial relations across Europe.
Nonetheless, we held hundreds of online meetings, zoom conferences and distant trainings to strive for the rights of the almost 25 million workers from farm to fork, including domestic workers and made key progress on the action plan 2020-2021 adopted at our last Congress in 2019.
This year, for the first time in history, EU Institutions have agreed on a CAP reform that considers the conditions of millions of agricultural workers in Europe. EFFAT’s demand for social conditionality is now part of the final agreement. This is a great victory, only possible thanks to the mobilisation of our affiliates, support of political allies and commitment of a cross-sectoral movement that joined EFFAT in global call for justice in Agriculture.
EFFAT sectors largely depend on the work of mobile and migrant workers who make up a significant proportion of those harvesting our fields, packing, and processing our food, as well as those cleaning our houses and allowing the hospitality sector to run. Working towards their improved working conditions has been one main focus at EFFAT this year. We adopted a position paper on labour mobility and joined the European Labour Authority (ELA)’s “Rights for all seasons campaign to shift the attention of employers, EU institutions and national authorities on the need for better working conditions.
Thanks to EFFAT intense advocacy the European Parliament resolution on the protection of cross-border and seasonal workers, the European Commission Guidelines on Seasonal workers and the Council conclusions on seasonal and mobile workers acknowledged many of the challenges mobile and migrant workers face. They also outlined clear actions and commitments that now have to be effectively implemented by national governments. The challenges on the ground are still many and our demand for action including through binding EU initiatives will continue in the months to come.
EFFAT has worked hard to ensure the shift to sustainable food systems that allow for improved working conditions of those active in the food supply chain. The European Parliament listened to our demands and sent a clear message to the European Commission: all future initiatives to be launched in the framework of the F2F Strategy must take on board social considerations and improve working and living conditions of people harvesting and processing our food.
As slaughterhouses across Europe were progressively becoming hotbeds of the pandemic, the Europan meat sector’s working conditions were unveiled. EFFAT seized the momentum to further push for the 10 Demands for action at EU level for improved standards across the meat industry.
With the pandemic still being very far from over, last years’ borders’ closure and halt to travels, the Tourism sector is witnessing one of the darkest crises of our times, inflicting massive hardships on tourism workers. In 2021 EFFAT has taken concrete steps and formulated its proposals on how to build a resilient and sustainable tourism in the EU that would encompass improved working conditions, enhanced qualification, and training, reduced seasonality and ecological footprint.
Among 9.5 million domestic workers in the EU, 1/3 is still working the informal economy, unable to live in dignity, and lacking effective social security coverage. This year, EFFAT is proud to have given the domestic work sector the voice it deserves through a new the leadership and a comprehensive political commitment.
We continued to empower the younger generations through online meetings and training that would help them build their union power and digitally organise.
With a new Action plan 2022-2023 ready at hand, we now take this short holiday period to cherish our successes and looking forward to achieving a lot more over the year ahead for all of our members across the farm to fork value chain.
We wish you a safe and happy holidays with your members and family.