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Italy: The Pomodoro Nord IO and Terra! take a stand against illegal employment

10/06/2022 - Press release , François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
The Pomodoro da Industria del Nord Italia IO and Terra! have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the reintegration of victims of exploitation and illegal employment into companies working in the tomato industry in northern Italy.

On May 19, 2022, the Pomodoro Nord IO, the inter-regional interbranch organization that brings together the various producer organizations and processing companies in northern Italy, and Terra!, an association that has been working for fourteen years for ecological agriculture and for the rights of vulnerable people, including victims of illegal employment, signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the reintegration of victims of exploitation and illegal employment into companies working in the processing tomato sector in northern Italy.
Promoted and governed by the agreement signed between the parties, professional reinsertion projects will be able to receive support from a scheme financed by the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, called Di.Agr.A.M.M.I. – of which Terra! is a partner – which will finance the training of workers hoping for reintegration into a professional activity, within the framework of the provisions of the "National, Provincial and Company collective bargaining plan", and in full respect of Italian regulations on workers' rights and the battle against the caporalato system.

 The Pomodoro Nord IO is committed to disseminating and promoting training and professional insertion programs among its associates, as laid out in the north and central region's Di.Agr.A.M.M.I. project. As for the Terra! Association, it will monitor the training and professional insertion processes, in collaboration with the members of the IO involved, and will accompany them in implementing professional insertion programs and in designing training opportunities, taking into account the specific professional needs expressed by the industrial and agricultural companies involved.
"With this initiative, we want to give once again a strong and clear message to public opinion and to the national and international markets: in the north of Italy, as in the overwhelming majority of the structures of the South-central region," says Tiberio Rabboni, president of the Pomodoro da Industria del Nord Italia IO, "the chain of organized production of processing tomatoes, in other words the interbranch organization and its associates, are personally involved in the fight against the caporalato, illegal labor and hiring. It is precisely for this reason that they have decided to work directly and actively for the social, legal and professional reintegration of those who, elsewhere, have seen their dignity and rights as human beings trampled on. Early contacts with our partners have been very positive. I am sure that the initiative will be as successful as it deserves."
Italian companies, the largest producers of tomatoes in Europe and the second largest in the world, have often been criticized in the past for their lack of sensitivity to "ethical" agriculture. This agreement opens up a new challenge, with the hope that such virtuous practices can become increasingly widespread in the corporate fabric.

"It is time to demonstrate that many Italian companies are, on the contrary, interested in protecting the rights of workers," said Fabio Ciconte, director of Terra!, which should be the basic principle of all the corporate structures active in our industry. It is only in this way," Ciconte continued, "that the sector will become fairer and more just and that farmers will once again become the 'guardians' of our country's agriculture and food future. And this agreement is a particularly important challenge for all operators in the field."

Some complementary data

Sources: OI Pomodoro da Industria Nord Italia
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