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Newsletter Nº2

Promoting collaboration and good practice in posting of workers in the agro -food sector. VS/2019/0436

Some results, regarding the movement of workers in the agricultural sector

Once the first analysis of the data has been carried out, we can conclude that the displacement of the working population in the agricultural sector moves with different parameters than workers in other sectors. The lack of documentation and official data regarding this group is a common element in the four countries analysed and which form the consortium of this project.
The movement of the displaced working population in the agricultural sector occurs on its own initiative in some cases and, in others, as a result of the direct appeal by farm employers to specific (already known) people to offer them work in a particular territory. These people, in turn, act as a spokesperson for the need for temporary labour for certain campaigns and mobilise other people in their community or environment, sometimes whole families moving into a particular territory.

With regard to official data on the number of displaced workers registered with A1 documents, we can find quantitative data on displaced workers in the construction or transport sector in the different countries, but it is not easy to find this data for the agricultural sector. In the agricultural sector, data are practically non-existent in the four countries analysed, as these are movements of the working population that occur on their own initiative, in most cases.

The quantitative data obtained comes from the field work carried out through interviews with actors directly involved in the agricultural sector such as trade unions and employers' organisations interviewed in each of the countries.
According to social security data, 70,696 displaced workers in Spain were registered in the agricultural sector in 2019. The main nationalities were Romania, Poland, Portugal and Bulgaria. Geographically they are distributed by Andalusia, Castilla la Mancha, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia.

They are mainly men, except for some crops for which women are mainly sought after, such as the harvest of red fruits, where they are mainly women.

According to data from UGT - FICA, approximately 15,500 Spaniards from the agricultural sector left Spain to work in 2019. A considerable number of these were people hired at the destination. The main destinations of these people who leave Spain to work in the agricultural sector are France and Belgium.
The foreign working population in the agriculture sector in France accounts for 21.9% of total employment in the agricultural sector. In geographical terms, two thirds of the employees are seconded to five regions: four border regions (Grand Est, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Occitania, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Hauts-de-France) and the Île-de-France region.
The sectors that use most posted workers are: Viticulture, Horticulture and Arboriculture.

Most of the displaced persons in the agricultural sector are low-skilled and, in terms of gender, most of them are men, around 90%.
Foreign agricultural workers, in Italy  contribute to 28.6% in terms of days of employment of the total employment (34.476.582 out of 120.553.064), following a path of growth that over the years has never stopped, bringing the foreign component to be increasingly important for national agriculture. At the end of 2019, there were 368.000 foreign workers employed in agriculture (Only European workers are listed here, the others come from non-European countries).

Romanians employed in agriculture in 2019 amounted to 98.011 (in 2018 they were 107.591) and are divided between 95.8% of fixed-term workers (OTD) and one 4.2% for an indefinite period (OTI).49.6% are concentrated in the North, 13.5% to the Center and 10.8% in the Islands.

People from Romania are the most important group followed by people from Poland and Bulgari.
The top countries where Romania is sending workers are: Italy with 1,3 M Romanians, of which a percentage between 8 and 10% are employed in agriculture; Spain with 673 k Romanians; Germany with 657 k Romanians. But their number is much higher than the official one.

Main “fraudulent practices” related to posting of workers in the agriculture sector PW 96/71/CE

According to official reports and information provided by interviewees, main fraudulent practices identified in the agriculture sector are the following:

The omission of compulsory formalities.

Countries where it is identified:
France, Italy and Spain

Labour Inspectorate (France), Trade unions (Italy, Spain)
The omission of compulsory formalities, and in particular the lack of a pre-secondment declaration, is repeatedly noted by the labour inspectorate.

In Italy and Spain, undeclared work and blackmailing. This practice means that fewer working days are declared than people have worked, resulting in significant social security fraud by not declaring the relevant contributions for each working person.

Non-compliance with the "hard core" of national labour law applicable to posted employees.

Countries where it is identified:
France and Spain.
Labour Inspectorate (France), Trade Unions (Spain, Italy and Romania)
 In France, this category of fraud concerns companies that do not respect the "hard core" of French law applicable to seconded employees (minimum wage, working hours, rest and holidays, working and accommodation conditions in particular). Despite planned interventions by the control services on weekends, it is difficult to characterise these facts due to language problems, the presence of the employee's hierarchy, the existence sometimes of double registers for hourly accounts or the practice of cash payment in certain sectors. This type of fraud represents one criminal offence in five of those identified by the labour inspectorate for the posting of workers in 2016 and 2017.

In Spain, this type of fraud focuses on the fraudulent reduction of the social security contribution, by reducing the number of work days declared and the non-compliance of the collective bargaining regarding wage and rest time.

It also refers to the payment of wages below the salary established in the agreement, for not paying overtime and for not complying with the housing conditions that must be provided to displaced persons.

In Italy, the non-compliance with the "hard core" of national labour law applicable to posted employees is reported by Romanian Trade Unions. According to them, even those workers who work under an employment contract do not know the labor legislation in Italy, so they end up working unpaid overtime or for less money.

This represents unfair competition for the sector.

Worker survey

Last November a survey was launched aimed at all workers in the agricultural sector who are working in different campaigns in France, Italy, Romania and Spain in order to find out what the situation is of these workers and to know to what extent the obligations indicated in the Posting of Workers Directive -PW- (96/71/EC), which was amended by Directive 2018/957, are fulfilled or not, regarding wages, working conditions, working time and rest, accommodation, etc.

In all countries, surveys are being collected from workers who are currently working in the most important harvesting campaigns. The online survey collection will be open until the end of January, mid-February. The results of the analysis of the surveys will be presented in a report on the results of each country to be submitted on March 10th. They will also appear in the third newsletter to be published in April-June 2021.


All the results obtained from both the key informant interviews and the employee surveys will be discussed in the action foreseen in work package 4: Innovative actions in transnational cooperation: Evaluation of potential.

The aim of this work package will be to discuss innovative actions for joint implementation between trade union organisations and transnational administrative cooperation to ensure proper implementation of PW in the agricultural sector.

The main activity of this work package will be two transnational seminars open to experts and stakeholders to be held in France and Romania during 2021.

The results of the seminars will be part of the final products to be produced under the project.



UGT-FICA (Spain)



Notus-asr (Spain)
CFC-CGC Agro (Francia)
FAI CISL (Italia)
ICDI (Rumanía)

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