Argentine farmers want Bolivian workers 'legalized'
Argentine farmers have gathered in the town of Olmos in Buenos Aires to propose improved 'legalization' methods for Bolivian farmers, with current laws that make contracting foreign temporary workers very difficult, website Quilmespresente.com reported.
The meeting was convened by the Horticultural Association of La Plata, highlighting a consensus for the proposed changes from respective associations in Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Catamarca and San Juan, the story reported.
"In any case it is not established by the Agricultural Labor Act, which seeks to differentiate. Neither the conditions nor the profit margins of an agricultural producer are the same as for a horticultural producer. To us, who have an average of three or four acres, it's much more difficult to pay the social security payments as they are established today," the horticultural association's president Alberto Pate told the website.
The story reported the guest workers - known as 'pawn swallows' - would rarely stay in one farm for long and weren't offered formal temporary employment.
In April, the National Agricultural Work Committee (CNTA) issued a resolution establishing new working and housing conditions for agricultural employees, prohibiting child labor, as well as setting standards for hygiene, lighting, housing height, insulation, electricity, telephone access, ventilation and cooking facilities.
Website Fruticulturasur.com reported the new CNTA resolution was too general when considering the specific needs of different regions and was proving 'difficult to implement'.
Employers have complained the housing conditions in the resolution were stricter than many other housing schemes, with minimum heights of 2.3 metres and space per person of 2.9 square metres, Fruticulturasur reported. Farming employers also complained that it was 'inapplicable' to give every bed a window or provide a bath for every five workers.
Related story: 'Precarious conditions' for more than 400 Argentine farm workers