It's been three years since the CFDT has led a “seasonal action” in North Poitou. However, the union is still raising-awareness of migrants coming to France for seasonal work, particularly those from Bulgaria.
Laurent Chérigny, Federal Secretary of FGA-CFDT in charge of agricultural production in Poitou-Charentes, in the central region and in Vendée, and Fabien Guimbretière, his counterpart for the Loire and Brittany, have conducted research into seasonal work that they say is relevant both in France and abroad.
Employed either through direct hiring or contractors, seasonal migrant workers generally receive less pay than expected. Sometimes lodging and transport costs are deducted from their pay, extra hours worked are unpaid, and wages are generally irregular.
In a meeting attended by three representatives of South-Eastern European countries, including the President of the Bulgarian federation NFZGS Podkrepa, Aneliya Galabova, and the Prefect of Deux-Sèvres, Pierre Lambert, it was agreed France must try harder to enforce the law and fight fraud. The prefect noted that foreign labour is allowed, provided that workers are employed legally and on equal terms with local workers.
However, he also said that the exploitative practices that now characterise much seasonal work do not benefit France, and that agricultural companies should overcome labour shortages by first approaching the government unemployment offices.