human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Call to respect labour rights in agriculture

For social conditionality in the new Common Agriculture Policy

As the inter-institutional negotiations on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are undergoing, Caritas Europa joins more than 300 organisations and personalities to urge the European Parliament and the Member States to make EU agriculture funds conditional on the respect for labour rights in agriculture.

At least ten million people are employed in European agriculture, mainly as seasonal workers, day labourers or in other insecure statuses. Despite being defined as essential by the EU institutions and national governments when COVID-19 hit, many of these workers continue to experience deprivation and violations of human rights, including inhumane working conditions, poor wages, long working hours, exploitation and sub-standard housing.

The ongoing reform of the CAP provides a unique opportunity to strengthen workers’ rights in this sector. As the CAP receives one third of the total EU budget, introducing social conditionality would contribute to improving living and working conditions for millions of workers in agriculture.

The conditionality would cover various areas such as declared employment, equal treatment, remuneration, working hours, health and safety, housing, gender equality, social security and fair conditions for all workers employed in agriculture, including mobile and migrant labourers.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents the EU with a unique opportunity – overhauling European agriculture to make it truly sustainable and socially just.

This open letter complements our joint statement calling to respect migrant farm workers’ rights, and this OpEd on undocumented workers.


joint statement


Download the open letter