The Dignità in Campo project aims to prevent all forms of labour exploitation in agriculture, starting in two Italian territories.
In recent years, the diffusion of large-scale distribution centers has transformed agricultural supply chains. Big companies impose prices on smaller ones, forcing them to settle for low profit margins. Underpaid seasonal workers bear the brunt of the burden. New legislation that increases transparency in supply chains could improve the situation. Detailed information and clear labels could help consumers understand the origins of the products they buy. A pending law would prohibit double-discount auctions – the practice of collecting the best sales offers and then launching a second auction by setting a lower starting price, which sometimes barely covers production costs – which are often used by large retailers.
Only 10% of seasonal workers are hired through legal means. These workers receive employment contracts and decent accommodation. The other 90% fall into three categories: EU citizen, resident permit holder, or undocumented worker – those who are forced to accept any salary and working conditions. In Saluzzo and Syracuse, most seasonal workers arrive from Sub-Saharan Africa, often after a long journey by land and sea. Sicily is usually their first stop, then Calabria, sometimes Lazio. Those who make it to Piedmont arrive with the hope of reaching France or the UK, where they might reunite with relatives and realize a better life.
Permits and contracts
The Decree Law 113/2018 introduced sweeping changes to asylum, immigration and citizenship in Italy. Since then, it has been more difficult for seasonal workers to move freely in the country, and they have become more vulnerable to exploitation. Local actors like banks, post offices, and employment and real estate agencies are responsible for interpreting the new rules and making sure that asylum seekers and humanitarian refugees can still access their services. Immigration offices cannot keep up with the flux of migration and the urgent need for labourers. As a result, many seasonal workers move through the country without bank accounts, proper health coverage, or basic human rights
Experience the realities of working in agriculture through the eyes of seasonal workers, farm owners, government officials, trade unions, and civil society.
This documentary cuts a path from north to south, reflects on the main issues in the sector, and refocuses attention on those who are working to improve the situation.
The Dignità in Campo project is taking action in two Italian cities – Saluzzo, in Piedmont, and Syracuse, in Sicily – to ensure agricultural workers can do their jobs with dignity.