An operation against labour exploitation in Italy | Photo: ANSA/Carabinieri
An operation against labour exploitation in Italy | Photo: ANSA/Carabinieri

Regional authorities in southern Italy have taken steps to prevent labor exploitation amid widespread reports of abuse of workers in the agricultural sector. A local trade union says an MoU signed last week aims to bring migrant workers "from exploitative conditions to legality."

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on June 15 in the city of Potenza in southern Italy which aims to counter the exploitation of workers in the agricultural and food sector, promote legality instead of the exploitation of day labourers, and develop shared policies and actions to reduce under-the-table employment in agriculture. The MoU also aims to strengthen best practices and quality networks in the field of agriculture.

It was signed by the FLAI CGIL trade union, the Basilicata regional government, and regional agencies and associations involved in the agricultural sector as part of the Diagrammi di Legalità al Sud ('Diagrams of Legality in the South') project.

From exploitation to legality

Diagrammi, which is the acronym for "rights in agriculture through multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary approaches for integration and fair labor," is a project sponsored by the Italian union for agricultural workers and with involvement by Cestrim, the Nova consortium, Associazione Terra, INPS Basilicata, Arlab, and the territorial inspectorate for labor, as well as Coldiretti, COPAGRI and the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA) of the Basilicata region.

Those promoting the MoU say that it also aims to activate a round table discussion between state institutions and employers to "analyse the needs of the market of agricultural work in the Basilicata region, identify the professional skills most in demand, and foster consistent training".

"The intention of the project is that of taking responsibility of migrant workers and bringing them from exploitative conditions to legality through training and job and housing placement," said Basilicata FLAI CGIL regional secretary Vincenzo Esposito.

"Today is an important day because firms have committed to train and give jobs in their businesses - taking them out of under-the-table employment - about 30 workers."

Reward transparent firms

The signing of the MoU is also a way to promote processes for the identification and drawing up of processes to reward firms that take part in the network of agricultural work of quality: firms of the area that are able to activate transparent processes bringing together labor demand and supply (making use of reservation lists for employment centers), implementing behaviours that aim for transparency, legality, and ethical work relations, say those involved in the agreement.


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