The Dutch Association of Retailers, together with the Dutch FNV trade union, want to tackle harrowing working conditions in Italian tomato cultivation. Research conducted by FNV and the Dutch Central Bureau for Food Trade (CBL) shows that exploitation and irregular labour are common in the sector.
According to the organisations, it is necessary that all parties involved recognize the risks and adapt their actions accordingly, so that the situation for the workers can be improved.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers work in Italian tomato cultivation, often without residence permits. They are often the victims of poor working conditions. In many cases, the workers work long hours. That could be twelve hours a day for seven days a week. Workers continue to be paid below the legal minimum wage and live in deficient living spaces.
FNV and CBL have now drawn up a plan of three pillars. First, they want to look at initiatives that already exist in Italy to “improve the conditions in the full supply chain”. Secondly, they want to improve the current certification system of the tomato producers. Finally, the organizations, together with the Dutch and Italian governments, want to work together to improve the situation in general.