Hostel for seasonal workers inaugurated in Cassibile on April 29, 2021 | Source: Italian Interior Ministry
Hostel for seasonal workers inaugurated in Cassibile on April 29, 2021 | Source: Italian Interior Ministry

A hostel for seasonal workers, most of whom migrants, opened last week in Cassibile, near the Sicilian city of Siracusa. The facility can host up to about 80 people in 17 housing units.

A hostel for seasonal workers, most of whom migrants, opened Thursday, April 29, in Cassibile, an area about 15 kilometers from the Sicilian city of Siracusa.

The site was built by the Siracusa municipality with €242,000 euros in funding from the Italian interior ministry and will be able to host about 80 people in 17 housing units with six toilet facilities.

Services for workers

The authorities report that the Special Office for Immigration (part of the Sicilian regional government dealing with social policies) will be ensuring transportation services for the seasonal workers to their workplaces and one meal a day.

The funding comes from EU funds from the Italy program SU.PR.EME., which stands for "the South as a major Player in overcoming Crises within the context of severe labor exploitation and the marginality of migrant citizens legally residing in the five least developed regions of Italy."

The collaboration made it possible to create a model working against the "caporalato" exploitation system in agriculture and foster respect for human and social rights, supporters say.

An interior ministry project in the village has set up a health point for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of migrants' skin problems and STDs as well as to prevent to spread of COVID-19.

"This center must be the epitome of legality compared with other centers in which lawlessness is experienced. This is the first basis for the right kind of integration," said the head of the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration at the interior ministry, Michele di Bari, in Cassibile.

"The creation and management of the Cassibile reception camp, which is replacing a shantytown, is the result of synergetic work and a model of regional government. We will open similar facilities soon in Ragusa, Agrigento, and Trapani," regional councillor for social policies of Sicily Antonio Scavone said.

Tension among protestors at inauguration

The inauguration at the village was met with moments of tension between its supporters and those against it.

Outside of the hostel, a group called the Comitato No Villaggio di Cassibile staged a peaceful protest with banners against the opening of the hostel. "We are ready to block the migrant center at the first problem" seen in relation to its opening, said the body's spokesman Paolo Romano.

"We do not want Cassibile to be transformed into a treatment camp for thousands of migrants," he added.

Four representatives of the CGIL union arrived in the morning who instead wanted, at the personal level, to support the initiative. A scuffle ensued but was calmed by the police, who took the CGIL representatives away from the scene as they had not been authorized to conduct a street demonstration.

"The forced removal of the CGIL members, who were taking part peacefully in the inauguration and who were attacked by those who felt they were legitimate at the institutional level, constitutes a very serious element of social tension," said Roberto Alosi, secretary general of the Siracusa CGIL, which called up all the managing bodies of the organization at all levels.

"The CGIL," he added, "has been one of the supporters of the building of the village through unceasing efforts over the years in terms of collaboration, creating of directions, and full, solid solidarity towards migrant workers."


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