Farmworkers from the Megamark group of Trani while they are picking tomatoes in Foggia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/FRANCO CAUTILLO
Farmworkers from the Megamark group of Trani while they are picking tomatoes in Foggia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/FRANCO CAUTILLO

The trade union CGIL said Tuesday that 1,781 migrant workers in the agricultural sector in Italy's Puglia region had received papers as part of an amnesty out of over 15,000 with expired stay permits. The trade union asked for an extension to the deadline for the submitting of requests to be included in the amnesty, which is currently August 15.

The Italian trade union CGIL said Tuesday that 1,781 migrant farmworkers in the region of Puglia, in the southern part of the country, had received papers out of over 15,000 with expired stay permits as part of an amnesty approved for temporary legalisation of work in the sector. 

In the Foggia area only 797 received papers, according to CGIL figures presented during a press conference in the Borgo Mezzanone shantytown in the countryside of the zone. 

Call to extend deadline 

"Our presence here," said the head of the Puglia branch of CGIL, Pino Gesmundo, "is to underscore the need to extend the regulation, which had an aim: to facilitate the legalisation of under-the-table work, especially in the agricultural sector." 

The regulation calls for all requests to be filed by August 15. "In reality we have seen an ineffectiveness. The figures," he added, "show that very few workers were able to use this regulation, which workers in other sectors made more use of -- such as carers and domestic help." 

The representative of the regional branch of the trade union said that "there is a need to legalise these workers. We need to focus especially on the part of the employer." 

Checks for under-the-table work in 2% of farms 

Gesmundo went on to say that, as concerns under-the-table work, "we have alarming figures in the Puglia and Campania regions: only 2% of farms are inspected and, despite this, over a million euros in fines have been handed down. This means that the system for preventing and monitoring is ineffective and that norms continue to be used that violate the dignity of people, contractual regulations and the legislation of this country." 

"We are here to make it known to these workers," he said, "that we are at their disposal, including to support disputes against employers that do not want to help them become legal." 

The head of the Puglia regional branch of the CGIl reiterated that illegal hiring systems continue to be strong in the Borgo Mezzanone shantytown and that "very few employers are registered with the agricultural network of quality: out of 78,000 farms in the region, only 0.2% are registered. This means that they want to continue exploiting people."
 

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