Deaths and scandal linked to housing during the grape harvest in Champagne. The Peasant Confederation requested on Friday a “vigilance plan and improvement of working conditions and remuneration” for seasonal workers. The union is campaigning in particular for “the inclusion in the Labor Code of a specific definition of seasonal work in agriculture”, “dignified housing conditions”, an increase in remuneration, the improvement of working conditions during periods of extreme heat, as well as “control of international service providers”.
Closure of accommodation deemed “unworthy” and “unsanitary”
Four people participating in the grape harvest in Champagne died during the first half of September, in a context of extreme heat. And, on Tuesday, the Marne prefecture ordered the closure of collective accommodation for grape pickers, deemed “unworthy” and “unsanitary”.
“These facts are a reminder of the extent to which agricultural and seasonal workers remain vulnerable, and too often subject to exploitation at work. This is all the more true as these are foreign people employed by international service companies,” denounces the Peasant Confederation in a press release.
“Respect for workers on the land, whatever their status and origin, is superior to all economic considerations! », she protests. “People are exploited, but everyone turns a blind eye because it is the most expensive grape in the world,” José Blanco, general secretary of the CGT Champagne Intersyndicat, regretted to AFP on Tuesday, denouncing “ the omerta” which reigns “in the world of champagne”.
At the end of August, Champagne winegrowers obtained from the State a relaxation of the rules for accommodation of seasonal workers during the harvest. In particular, the latter can now accommodate up to ten workers per room, compared to six previously.
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