2017 / 2021
The countryside under the Monviso Mount in Piedmont area in the North of Italy, land of seasonal workers, famous for its PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) apples, welcomes thousands of seasonal workers every year during the fruit picking season from May to November. They work as laborers in the 7,950 farms of what is one of the most important fruit and vegetable districts in Northern Italy.
The geographical center of the agricultural area that extends for almost 50 kilometers from Barge to Busca is the town of Saluzzo. Here are based every year the farm workers to whom the employer does not provide accommodation or who, not having a consolidated relationship with a company, are able to work only occasionally, during the peaks of the harvest.
For the media the city of Saluzzo continues to be the Rosarno of the North (city symbol of the exploitation of laborers). From 2014 to 2016, the Presidium Project managed by Caritas (a body of the catholic church that witness the charity of the Italian ecclesial community), at the national level has filled the gaps of local institutions by setting up a solidarity camp, a tent city with services and kitchens.
After three seasons, however, almost all the structures were destroyed and the need to ensure better conditions for workers emerged. Caritas invested time and resources in structuring a widespread reception project that could guarantee migrants at least one bed in the companies that offered work or in other structures previously sought after.
In 2020 the Covid 19 pandemic upsets the territory. Informal camps are cleared and manned by the military. Homes that accommodate workers subject to strict control measures and the issue once again turns into an emergency.
If it is true that the problem of housing is the most visible, it is also true that it is inextricably linked to the issue of work and documents. Virginia Sabbatini, coordinator of the Caritas Presidium Project, says:
“There is a very strong connection between social marginalization and job insecurity…because of the bad reception we are witnessing a huge deterioration…they are people kept in a bubble for months and then sent away without the slightest idea of how the system works. We are manufacturing the perfect laborers willing to be exploited“.