Indian Community in Italy Protest Against Agricultural Labor Exploitation

In Lazio, a large part of migrants have no contracts, work 12 hours or more per day, and receive barely five euros per hour.

On Tuesday, the Indian community of the Italian city of Latina protested against agricultural labor exploitation and the death of a worker who was abandoned by his boss, bleeding out on the street.

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“This is no longer tolerable,” Onofrio Rota, the secretary of the Italian Agricultural, Food, Environmental, and Industrial Federation (FAI-CISL), said, denouncing that Italian institutions have left entire territories “in disarray, pretending not to know what is happening in the ghettos or what is behind the food that arrives on our tables every day.”

The outrage over the incident has once again brought attention to the so-called ‘Caporalato,’ a system of migrant exploitation that is widespread in Italian agriculture despite being illegal. It is widespread in the province of Latina, one of the main agricultural centers in Lazio, where a large part of migrant workers have no contracts, work 12 hours or more per day, and receive barely five euros per hour.

Tommaso Battista, the president of the Agricultural Producers’ Confederation (COPAGRI), described the agricultural workers’s death as “shocking and deplorable” and emphasized the importance of increasing controls against caporalato.

Contro #caporalato e sfruttamento❗️@OnofrioRota dal palco del comizio di #Latina con la comunità indiana: «Oggi siamo tutti Satnam! Noi da qui dobbiamo pretendere risposte strutturali per cambiare le cose, ecco perché dobbiamo darci un cronoprogramma, come abbiamo chiesto al… pic.twitter.com/rI0ZBJ8YB6

— Fai-Cisl Nazionale (@fai_cisl) June 25, 2024

The text reads, “Against manipulation and exploitation! Ono Frio Rota tells the Indian community from the stage of the rally in Latina: ‘Today we are all Satnam! From here we must demand structural responses to change things. As we already told the government, we must set a schedule to do some things with specific terms. Let’s overcome the flow decrees, let’s promote the visibility of immigrants, let’s overcome the Bossi Fini Law, let’s say enough is enough for landless cooperatives, let’s introduce tax relief for companies registering in the Quality Agricultural Work Network, let’s involve bilateral organizations in the acquisition of labor, Let’s use police technologies to cross-check the data. And then we report the PNRR money allocated to the workers: where are the 200 million planned to overcome the ghettos? And 400 thousand euros are owed. Where are they? How will they be spent? In what terms? We need answers to all this!’.”

The worker died last week from bleeding out after suffering a hemorrhage when his arm was amputated by an agricultural machine that ran over him. His boss left him lying outside his house without providing medical assistance. The worker was admitted to a hospital too late and died.

The Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation against the laborer’s boss, who is accused of homicide, negligence, and failure to provide assistance.

Currently, about 30,000 Indian citizens work in the area, where thousands of migrants from countries such as Romania and Bangladesh are also present, according to data from the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL).

Last Saturday, the CGIL called for a day of protest at the government delegation’s headquarters in Latina, attended by laborers and representatives of opposition parties, including the secretary of the Democratic Party, Elly Schlein.

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— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 24, 2024