The Development Workshop has just published a report focusing upon the plight of “People who were left behind during the pandemic”. It is a participant observation based report that examines the extent to which seasonal (i.e., migrant) agricultural labourers and their children have suffered from discrimination in Turkey.
The project examined seasonal migrant trends and incidents between 30 March and 2 June 2020.
The living conditions of labourers are ignored
According to report, although “stay home” or “social distancing” warnings and restrictions were in place, labourers were still expected to perform their designated functions in the agricultural production process.
“The focus point was again the continuity of the production, not the labour, health and safety” of the the seasonal agricultural workforce.
Despite the fact that İzmir, Konya and Adana were the major provinces registering high Covid-19 cases, the demand in the spring months was highest in these areas for a migrant/seasonal agricultural labour-force, to facilitate agricultural production.
Many seasonal/migrant agricultural labourers had to risk infection in order to prevent their families from facing hunger.
The report confirms that their living conditions, together with those of their children, did not undergo any improvement during this period of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In fact, the report concludes that they continue to be subjected to a loss of rights in several areas of life. They continue to suffer from inadequate shelter, housing, social insurance, healthcare, and education. They are still economically exploited and subject to discrimination.