Montag, 9. April 2012


For several weeks now, scores of migrants have been arriving in Cassibile for the potato harvest. In the next couple of days, like every year, the figure will be in the hundreds. In order to provide "accommodation", the same organization as last year, CRI is setting up a huge campsite which will take 120 to 150 migrants. And also this year, it will be built right next to the motorway exit, on an area which has been leveled off and had trees cut down. To get to the town of Cassibile, the migrants must cross two motorway slip roads and continue for over a kilometre, thereby posing great risk to their safety, especially during the evenings. What is important, however, is the fact that they are super- exploited, work in silence and  they keep their heads down in the town. The vast majority of migrants who will not find a place in the campsite, will have to look after themselves, sleeping rough in abandoned buildings, without running water or electricity and living mainly off potatoes.
Every year they wait until the last moment to start providing reception. It is always under the category of emergency and only for approximately a hundred "regular" migrants. Yet the claims of "regularity" are valid only for the offer of a place to sleep and do not extend to the guarantee of a contract or workers' rights. It is dramatic that this repeats itself every year on soil, where 44 years ago, workers fought a heroic battle to overcome the minimum wage trap and illegal hiring on a national level. The vast majority of migrants who come to Cassibile are regular and have a permit of stay: there are refugees; those waiting for their papers to be renewed; those recently made unemployed; asylum seekers. Yet if they are not able to find regular work, they are pushed towards irregular jobs and run the risk of losing their permit of stay thanks to shameful racist laws, like that of Bossi- Fini and the pacchetto sicurezza (security package).
The last ten days have seen successive night patrols by the local carabinieri, which often end in violence as a result of damage caused by the migrants and protests about "trespassing on land and damage to buildings". Of course, the state must show its strength against the weak, it's just a shame they are nearly always weak with those in a position of strength.
-Why aren't there tight controls for those who carry out illegal hiring?
-Why is the European Directive (n.52 del 18/6/’09 ) which provides a permit of stay to those who denounce those who exploit illegal hiring not applied?
-Why are those without a permit of stay constantly a target- made out to be criminals- when there are so many organizations which avoid paying taxes and increase the number of illegal jobs?
-Why aren't the companies that buy and sell potatoes from France, Egypt and Israel (preserved using illegal anti- germination products) and then sold on as local produce, identified and persecuted?
The principle of an "equal salary for equal work" has to become the onus of all Anti- Racist organizations and the conflictual trade unionism, or the ethnic differentiation of wages (this year they oscillate between €30 and €40 a day) could trigger fratricide amongst the poor, pitting Italian workers and migrants against each other. And there are even wage differences among the migrant groups themselves, all of which is made worse by the on-going economic crisis. What happened at Nardò last summer shows that the migrants know how to organise themselves and fight for their rights when working in the countryside. (The events in Nardò also had the support of the Anti-Racist Organizations). We adhere to the "Sign up against illegal hiring" campaign, which was fostered last year by the Brigate di Solidarietà within Nardò itself. It campaigned for the promotion of the "protection of migrants' rights" and relaunched the appeal to GAS (Gruppi di Acquisti Solidale- Groups for Fair Trade Purchases), GAP and to consumer groups supporting the campaign for the purchasing of potatoes produced without exploitation, by companies who also give their employees fair working conditions.

Ct 9/4/2012 Rete Antirazzista Catanese via Caltanissetta 4