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Member states must protect seasonal workers

Two GUE/NGL MEPs have spoken in a European Parliament plenary debate this morning on the conditions faced by third-country nationals who come to the EU for seasonal work.

German MEP Connie Ernst, who follows the issue for the Group, commented: “We have to ask ourselves about the condition in which seasonal workers live and work in our countries, where they are often the victims of terrible exploitation and experience horrific living conditions. We have to protect their dignity. We really need to stop this treatment and bring seasonal workers out of the legal grey zone.

“When it comes to this Directive there is much to welcome: decent accommodation; equal pay for equal work; collective agreements; legal protection; and tangible penalties for employers who fall foul of the legislation. But it does fall short in terms of third-country nationals already in the EU and family reunification. Now the ball is in the member states' court.”

French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat said: “The aim of this legislation is to stop the abuses in countries like Italy and Greece. And there has been a long negotiation process because the member states have been divided.”

“But unfortunately migrants will remain vulnerable,” continued Vergiat. “It is a very utilitarian approach to migrants. I don't share this vision. It is only migrants with an employment contract who will enjoy certain rights. As soon as their contact expires they will be back in the grey zone. This is a very minimalist text.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group