SPAIN has announced that will it hire tens of thousands of jobless people to boost fruit picking until at least the end of June.
The coronavirus crisis has led to many foreign seasonal workers unable to get to the country, which has led to the government to authorise the temporary hiring of tens of thousands of unemployed people.
It’s now the peak harvesting season in Spain, and in a bid to unlock the production chain to prevent shortages, Agriculture Minister, Luis Planas, said that up to 80,000 people would now be taken on.
The crucial point is that under normal circumstances, the majority of that number would be prevented from working on a temporary contract because they receive benefits.
The news is seen as vital to regions like Andalucia, Murcia, and Valencia, where fruit growing is a vital part of the economy.
It’s also an important piece of news for countries within the European Union, and for the UK, as Planas explains:-
“Two-thirds of our production goes to EU markets. Freight traffic continues to circulate smoothly and we have to provide for these markets because they are a very important source of income,” he told a virtual press briefing.
The government decree also allows for legal migrants to extend their work permits, but the move does not cover workers temporarily laid off due to the pandemic, as they get other assistance.
Some 16,000 Moroccan seasonal workers, mainly women, were due to arrive in the Huelva region to pick red fruit under an agreement between the two countries – but less than half were able to make it before travel restrictions came into play.