Agricultural policy analysis focused on workers of the land.
The intensified agricultural production system involves the quest for maximum profit in a context of international competition organized around the decrease of production costs.
Therefore, the main axes of European agricultural policies rely on two founding assumptions:
- First, concentrate production areas in selected zones where the principles of agronomy underlying peasants’ economies have no space anymore,
- Then, organize the “mobility” of an inexpensive labor force and revisit the migration policies.
It was therefore necessary to establish a set of legal measures aiming to organize labor flexibility in the downward revision of the standards imposed by existing regulations and national labor codes.
Thus were born various seasonal contracts, under various names (Anaem Contracts, Contratos d’origen …) after the signing of bilateral agreements between several countries that are potentially “providers” of labor force on the one hand, and others offering seasonal work in agriculture on the other. The seasonal contracts allowing the supply on the international labor market (drawing predominantly on populations from rural origins) institutionalize the employment flexibility and insecurity resulting from the system for the employees.
The presence of undocumented foreign workers sometimes in large numbers in certain European areas becomes a lever of the embrittlement of agricultural labor.
The orientations of these agricultural policies, in addition to their impact on the environment, the land and health, continuously and systematically erode peasants’ and workers of the land’s rights, regardless of their status.
For Confédération paysanne and its Via Campesina partners, it is clear that the struggle for the right to an income for farmers is synonymous with the struggle for the respect of the rights of the workers of the land. We refuse to base prices of agricultural products on the crash of wages, the deteriorating working conditions, or on the promotion of servitude in agriculture.