Spain: CNT takes on farm exploitation in Andalusia

Covid has presented particular problems for seasonal farm workers this year, and CNT Adra is planning to fight back. In the below statement the anarcho-syndicalist union outlines the situation and its demands.

The unions of CNT Andalusia are placing a focus of union action in a sector that is important in our community — agriculture. The olive campaign in grove areas and fruit and vegetable campaigns in the west and east of the province of Almería, for example, are totally different agricultural models but with a common denominator; precariousness and labour abuses.

This year’s campaign is marked by the health emergency and the consequences and dangers of COVID-19 for thousands of seasonal workers and day labourers who work in the field. This is not idle scaremongering. Some of the main outbreaks in the province of Almería, for example, have had their epicenter in farms or through companies that manipulate horticultural products. 

This virus has shown us in all its harshness the fragility and deficits of the health system after years of cuts in personnel and resources and all kinds of privatisations. But also, the enormous importance of agriculture as a primary sector which is often despised and forgotten. This is shown as an even more bloody contempt and forgetfulness when it comes to the last link in the chain; for the thousands of people, temporary or permanent, who earn a living producing food under plastic (Editor’s note: Andalusia has become such a vast producer of food using polytunnels that the coverage near Almeria, nicknamed “the sea of plastic” is visible from low orbit).

In the case of the province of Almería, in addition to health problems derived from the pandemic, we must add deliberate delays to the negotiation of provincial agreements for the countryside; stiff resistance by a good part of the agrarian employers to actually paying statutory increases in the SMI (the sector’s minimum wage) since 2019 and recurring Social Security fraud — it is estimated that 40% of wages are not actually quoted. Alongside these injustices we cannot forget the pressing problem of substandard housing, with slumlike settlements in areas of eastern Almeria that stand in contrast to the nearby prosperity of large landowners and agricultural companies.

For this fruit and vegetable growers campaign, from the Andalusian CNT and alongisde all the existing unions in the province of Almería, we demand that precautions around safety and hygiene measures be taken seriously, alongside all the labour rights of the people who work temporarily or indefinitely in greenhouses. 

In the medium and long term, as the CNT we claim €60 per day. A sector considered essential after the outbreak of COVID-19 cannot continue to have its workers living in economic precariousness. You have to organise! The CNT is a good tool for this. For any questions, legal or union consultation, breach of agreements or sanitary measures, go to the CNT union of your locality or the closest one.

For your health and dignity!

  • No wages below SMI
  • In the case of eventuals with less than 120 days in the same company €49.99
  • Quotation of all wages
  • More Labour Inspections
  • Respect for security measures
  • Supply of masks and PPE
  • Information on risk prevention
  • Decent housing for temporary people
  • Compliance with the agreements

Pic: Farmland in Andalusia, by Spencer Means