14 Jul 2010

Green MEP welcomes protection of seasonal workers

The video is from a while back but its a good introduction to Jean's strong stance on workers rights, I am really proud she is one on my parties MEPs.
Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has welcomed the European
Commission’s proposal for a Directive on seasonal employment.

Employers in sectors such as agriculture, horticulture and tourism are
increasingly dependent on people from countries outside of Europe to do
season work. There have been many reports of crops being left to rot in the
fields when too few permits for such workers have been given: this
represents a lower income for producers and a waste of food.

The proposed Directive, which was presented yesterday, will define the
standard contractual rights for third-country seasonal workers to protect
them from exploitation and establish a common procedure for their entry and
residence in the EU to allow for a more effective management of the process.

Jean, who is coordinator for the Greens on the Employment and Social
Affairs Committee, said: "We hear many horror stories of the abuse of
seasonal workers, whichever country they come from. This proposed Directive
clearly sets out basic payment, employment, and social rights to which all
such workers are entitled. However these rights are only as strong as the
inspection measures which should enforce them.

"I particularly welcome that the proposal includes provisions on adequate
and affordable accommodation for those from third countries, which will
hopefully bring an end to the squalid and overpriced living conditions
in which so many people currently doing seasonal work in the EU,
particularly in the agricultural sector, are forced to live.

"When we look at the proposal we must also ensure that it deals not only
with unscrupulous employers but also unscrupulous agencies which prey on
people's hopes and recruit them with promises of decent work and good wages:
the reality can be very different.”


The proposal is part of a comprehensive package of measures, proposed in the
Policy Plan on Legal Migration of 2005 and further endorsed by the Stockholm
Programme, adopted by the European Council in December 2009. The European
Union faces a structural need for seasonal work due to the fact that EU
labour within this field is expected to become less and less available. The
development of a well-organised legal immigration policy will therefore
continue to play an important role in filling labour shortages and
responding to the future demographic challenges of the Union.

In particular, the proposal:
• establishes a simpler entry procedure for the admission of non-EU seasonal
workers based on common definitions and criteria, such as the existence of a
work contract or a binding job offer that specifies a salary;
• sets a standard seasonal work time limit throughout the EU (6 months per
calendar year);
• provides for a multi-seasonal permit for three years or a facilitated
re-entry procedure in subsequent seasons;
• defines legal provisions applicable to working conditions of seasonal
• entitles seasonal workers to equal treatment with nationals of the Member
States in determined fields (freedom of association and affiliation, social
security schemes, income-related acquired statutory pensions, access to
goods and services, etc);

• leaves EU Member States free to apply a labour market test and to decide
how many seasonal workers they admit; the proposal does not create a right
to admission.

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