Unionist Aboubakar Soumahoro | Photo: ANSA/FABIOFRUSTACI
Unionist Aboubakar Soumahoro | Photo: ANSA/FABIOFRUSTACI

The activist Aboubakar Soumahoro has launched the Day Laborers League to bring migrants working in Italy's southern fields together to fight for dignified working conditions and against exploitation.

The unionist and activist Aboubakar Soumahoro, raised in Ivory Coast but who now has Italian citizenship, has launched the Day Laborers League to defend the rights of migrants working in Italy's food sector. 

The organization will work for equal wages and stay permits.

"Day laborers are living in our peninsula and makeshift shanties, without running water or heating, with trifling wages that cannot meet the basic needs of the workers and their families."

"Despite this, every day they go out to harvest fruit and vegetables sold at low costs in supermarket chains, the giants of the agricultural chain of production." 

"These day laborers (deprived of social and union rights and subjected to physical and social segregation) have decided to get together to give life to a 'Day Laborers' League','' Soumahoro wrote in an article of the Italian online edition of Huffington Post

'Home of Rights and Dignity' in Borgo Mezzanone 

''The right of association and the freedom to join forces are indispensable tools available to those who are invisible and exploited to free themselves of their inhuman social and working conditions,'' the activist said. 

The Day Laborers' League was officially launched on August 11, on the anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Di Vittorio, a historic figure in the history of Italian trade unions and of peasant origins. 

Soumahoro discussed Di Vittorio and the numerous, arduous battles he fought for greater rights in the fields near Foggia in Italy's Puglia region. 

''These same fields around Foggia are now worked by new protagonists, experiencing the same conditions of exploitation that Giuseppe Di Vittorio and his companions did a century ago,'' the unionist wrote in the article. 

As part of the launch, on August 11 the first 'Giuseppe Di Vittorio House of Rights and Dignity' was inaugurated in BorgoMezzanone, one of the largest day labourers' settlements in the area. Soumahoro said it would be a ''place of communion and for the construction of a new conscience for freedom and justice''. 

Garrison of freedom 

"This unprecedented form of a day laborers' association (based on the desire to bring together all day laborers of the peninsula in a spirit of direct protagonist and with the prospect of an alliance with farmers and consumers) will be for day laborers a 'garrison of freedom'," the activist wrote, in order to "seek the path of one's own development, one's own defense, and for greater economic and spiritual well-being." 

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