Migrant workers pay the price for Europe’s food security

A new report highlights that decent work is a distant dream for workers that are crucial for Northern European agriculture and food security.

The report finds that migrants working in the agri-food sector in Northern Europe are faced with poor and even abusive working conditions.

The acute need to address their precarity and vulnerability has become even more apparent in the Covid-19 context as more and more reports surface about their substandard working and living conditions

Three reports are now available looking at working conditions in agri-food production in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. The study was commissioned by the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI). It explores the extent of sub-standard and exploitative working conditions in the agri-food sector, identifies driving factors and offers recommendations for ways forward. The case study of the Netherlands was conducted by Dr Karin Astrid Siegmann and former ISS MA student Tyler Williams. It characterizes migrant farmworkers’ working and living conditions as ‘regulated precarity’, a situation that has been enabled by the highly flexibilized Dutch labour market.

As the initial study was completed in late 2019, an additional follow-up study was conducted looking specifically at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on migrant workers in the agri-food sector. The Dutch case study was written by Dr Siegmann and ISS PhD researcher Julia Quaedvlieg.

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For more information about Dr Karin Astrid Siegmann's research, please visit the Migrant Labour in Dutch Agriculture: Regulated Precarity project page.

 

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PhD student
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Tyler Williams