'Precarious conditions' for more than 400 Argentine farm workers
Argentina's Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP) has found 439 farming sector employees working in poor conditions across six provinces, including cases of child labor, overcrowing and exposure to chemicals.
The workers were found in the provinces of Catamarca, Río Negro, Neuquén, Mendoza, Santa Fe and the Federal Capital of Buenos Aires.
The story said many employees worked 12-hour days without minimum hygiene conditions or drinking water, sleeping in overcrowded metal boxes and tents on mattresses directly on the floor. Illegal foreign workers were also found locked in sweatshops.
AFIP has submitted relevant complaints based on the findings to the country's Federal Court.
Close to 300 of the cases were found in the province of Catamarca on an olive plantation, where surveyed employees said their drinking water was from hoses used to irrigate the fields, containing chemicals. They were not provided with clothing or safety precautions against pests like scorpions and snakes, living without medical insurance or fixed hours.
The AFIP report showed workers earned 9 pesos (US$2.23) per box with a maximum payment of 90 pesos (US$22.30) per day. For food the workers needed to pay a local woman to cook for them at a rate of 25 pesos (US$6.20) per day.
In the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén 66 employees were surveyed, with cases of overcrowding, a lack of preventative treatment against pesticides, as well as a lack refrigerators in rooms to preserve food.
In Mendoza 59 employees were found in 'appalling' work and housing conditions, working on carrot farms in Tupungato. Workers were living in tents made of sticks, with cases of women and children found working on the farms as well. In some cases no bathrooms were observed, with employees having to use a hole in the ground, protected by walls of canvas sheets.
The AFIP also inspected three textile mils in Buenos Aires where foreign employees were forced to work 12-hour days, but 90% of employees were not properly recorded by the AFIP.