Over a billion strong, we, agricultural workers, comprise about a third of the global labor force. We produce many of the essential needs of the global economy, including food. Yet they talk about food systems transformation and fail to mention us.
Let us tell you who we are.
We create the wealth of the plantation industry, yet we barely make enough to survive. In many parts of the world, we receive wages as low as USD1.25 per day. More often than not, we are paid on a piece rate system. This means we work longer hours to meet unreasonably high quotas. To make ends meet, our families (women and children) often end up doing unpaid work.
As casual and temporary workers, we are at the beck and call of large growers. We are denied fundamental rights to organise and collectively bargain. We do not have basic social protections such as social security, health care and workers’ compensation. Yet we do some of the most hazardous work in the world. With around 170,000 agricultural workers killed at work each year, we’re twice as likely to suffer a fatal work-related accident than other workers. We are farmers dispossessed of our lands.
We left the poverty of our countries and hometowns to seek opportunities elsewhere, often as undocumented migrant workers. Only to find ourselves in prisons–slaving away within the confines of the plantation and the shackles of capitalist dictates and exploitation. Forever discriminated against and hunted down by state authorities, we often have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Except for each other. Except for you.
Fight for the rights and welfare of agricultural workers, advance their struggle for land! Agricultural workers of the world, unite!
(Artwork by Bjan Bernabe/SAKA)
Join Agri Workers are #Hungry4Change: Workshop on the demands of agricultural workers for food systems change!
July 23 | 12 PM GMT Watch LIVE on facebook.com/ourfoodsystems.