The Lazio region’s website against gang masters and the exploitation of agricultural workers | Credit: Regione Lazio (Lazio Region, Italy)
The Lazio region’s website against gang masters and the exploitation of agricultural workers | Credit: Regione Lazio (Lazio Region, Italy)

Italy’s Lazio region has taken measures to fight exploitation in the agricultural sector and combat gang masters. The project, entitled “For quality work in agriculture” includes an app to help fight the exploitation of workers and to support farms who are following legal practices.

Measures are being enacted in Italy's Lazio region to fight the exploitation of migrant farm workers by gang masters. The measures follow the signing of a memorandum of understanding by regional representatives and participating farms in January 2019. The memorandum was entitled "For Quality Work in Agriculture."

The memorandum is intended to install more transparence in labor supply and demand as well as help support free transportation for farm workers to their place of work. In a statement, the region said it has activated a smartphone app called "FairLabor", which foreign workers can use to sign up to lists at regional job centers (CPI) so that farms can contact workers to offer them legal work. 

"FairLabor" app to provide transparency in labor supply 

The Region of Lazio said the goal of these interventions, financed with 500,000 euros from the regional budget, is to fight exploitation, defend workers, protect farms already working within the law, and introduce and facilitate best practices. Regarding labor protection, the CPIs have new counters dedicated to farming and agriculture which are open to both farm workers as well as agricultural businesses. 

At the CPIs in some of Lazio's towns, namely Latina, Formia, Fondi, Sezze, and Cisterna, workers can register on lists which show that they are available for work. Agricultural businesses can use the regional counters to find workers based on their needs. The app "FairLabor", created in collaboration with Lazio Crea (Lazio creates), allows the lists to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

The app is available for use on all smartphones in Italian as well as four other languages - English, French, Romanian, and Punjabi. Individual workers can use the app to automatically sign themselves up to CPI lists of workers. If an employer chooses a worker, contact information is exchanged to allow the business to contact the worker. In the coming weeks, a multilingual cultural mediation service will also be activated at CPI centres. 

Free transport for farm workers in the province of Latina 

The Lazio region said that its regional public transport company Cotral is actively participating in an initiative to allow workers with legal contracts the possibility of receiving a special transport pass from the CPI that will allow them to travel for free on Cotral buses throughout the province of Latina (just south of Rome). 

In addition, as of July 1, through an agreement with the towns of Maenza, Roccagorga, Sezze, Latina, Pontinia, Sabaudia and Terracina, workers are now able to travel for free on four distinct routes that have added extra  departures, some as early as 4am to fit in with the timetable of agricultural work. These services will run until 7pm in the evening. The extra routes are intended to supplement the towns' current transport network and were created to allow the majority of migrant farm workers to access public transport by increasing service during the times the migrants depart for and return from the fields. Thus avoiding the possibility of having to rely on potentially unscrupulous private transport options to access farms a long way outside the town.

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