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Safeguarding seasonal workers’ rights: European Labour Authority takes action

A participatory workshop on how to disseminate information to seasonal workers in the agri-food sector kicks off the Authority’s action plan

Seasonal work - woman wearing protective mask presents grape

Precarious living and working conditions, exposure to fraud and abuse, linguistic barriers: seasonal workers are a traditionally vulnerable group, and the ongoing pandemic has aggravated the risks they are exposed to, particularly in the agri-food sector. At the same time, as a consequence of travel restrictions, employers face increasing recruitment difficulties, which risks disrupting economic activities.

To promote fair working conditions for cross-border seasonal workers, the European Labour Authority has put forward an action plan addressing these challenges on the ground, alongside the European Commission, EU Member States and social partners. 

The Authority’s strategy aims to ensure that relevant information on rights and obligations reaches seasonal workers and that EU and national rules are enforced, and to facilitate cooperation and exchange of practices amongst EU Member States and social partners. Ultimately, the aim is to maximise the impact and synergy of actions undertaken through an integrated approach.

The European Labour Authority is kicking off its action plan by addressing a practical challenge. Cross-border seasonal workers are entitled to fair and safe working conditions while being employed in another EU country, with the same labour and social rights as local workers, and can turn to several services and networks to seek assistance when needed. However, ensuring that workers, especially in the agri-food sector, are aware of their rights can be challenging, because of the unstable nature of their work and because of linguistic barriers. 

Today, communications professionals from around 20 national administrations and social partners meet in a first online workshop to exchange experiences and solutions they have put in place in recent years. The objective is to identify effective strategies to disseminate useful information to cross-border seasonal workers in the agri-food sector, while exploring synergies between countries of origin and countries of work.