The trade union FLAI CGIL has pointed out a number of issues found at a reception center for migrant agricultural workers in southern Italy. Among the problems are a lack of guards, lodgings that are not divided properly, and issues with worker transportation.
According to the FLAI CGIL trade union, conditions at the Palazzo San Gervasio center near the city of Potenza (southern Italy) could foster the exploitation of migrant seasonal workers there.
The union said that there were not enough guards at the center, that lodgings were not divided properly, and that there were issues with worker transportation to the fields.
FLAI CGIL visited the center as part of its "street union" project after it reopened on Monday last week.
Reports from trade union
The "rights camper" of the trade union is currently touring the municipalities of Palazzo San Gervasio, Montemilone, Lavello, and Venosa, where foreign workers are involved in the tomato harvest.
FLAI CGIL found that "the delay with which the Palazzo San Gervasio center opened encouraged the settlement of many migrants in makeshift lodgings."
"There is a great deal of informal housing between Palazzo San Gervasio, Montemilone, and Gaudiano where there are poor hygiene conditions," said FLAI CGIL secretary general for Basilicata, Vincenzo Esposito. "The workers complain of a lack of drinking water and running water for showers and are forced once again" to pay these things, he said.
"It is clear that reception of this type is unacceptable," Esposito added. "It is necessary to remind everyone of their responsibilities. We are asking the Basilicata regional government to intervene in a timely manner as concerns those running the center so that the problems found can be resolved."
The reports from the union came after the Palazzo San Gervasio center was reopened on Monday (August 23) inside what used to be a tobacco factory.
The workers underwent health screening prior to returning to the facilities.
The regional president of the Coldiretti organization of agricultural firms, Antonio Pessolani, and provincial director Franco Carbone, noted that the center is once again open for hosting farmworkers. "This result was achieved in part through our incessant urging," they said.
On Monday last week, they met with those who will be managing the facilities as well as about 30 agricultural firms, to organize activities to support the tomato harvest, which had begun some days before, beginning with the transportation of workers from the reception center to the farms themselves.
Pessolani and Carbone said that the farm owners had shown "complete willingness to ensure that everything goes in the right direction."