Importing Foreign Labor and Human Rights Deprivation: The Case of the Catalonian Agricultural Union Unió de Pagesos

By Olga Achón Rodríguez.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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The main objective of this paper is to show the consequences that the system established by the agricultural union “Unió de Pagesos” to recruit, import and distribute foreign labor produces, that is a worker whose legal rights and liberties are embarrassed. Once the traditional family productive system of Catalonian agriculture is substituted by an industrial one, designed for exportation and which requires hired labor, the Union, aided by the State, reconverts itself into an entity that provides different services, especially those related with the supply of labor force through their system-as we characterize the set of practices that make possible the recruitment of foreign workers and their concentration in the lodgings managed by it. The migratory policy is responsible of the emergence of this system, whose origin is in the–symbiotic relation between the State and the Agricultural Union. Their interests–the “just in time” provision of labor and the social control of the migratory flow–are harmonized by it. In the lodgings–infrastructure of the system–a transformation is operated through different devices–lodging regulation, presence of personnel in charge of the facilities, a visit regime, exit permissions, among others–close to other institutions, as labor camps, where the tame of the individuality is aimed through the subordination to a dominating power in order to create a new subject, whose value is exteriorized in its obedience to the will of those who administrate the institutions. Finally, this system belongs to a tradition of devices designed with the purpose to fixation of manpower, whose most relevant precedents are to be found in social institutions as Roman slavery rental (II-I B.C.), English vagrancy and poor laws (XIV century) and specifically Prussian System of labor import, applied by the Preuische Feldarbeiter Zentrale studied by Max Weber.

Keywords: International Migrations, Flux Control and Fixation of Manpower, Human Rights, Workers Lodgment

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.99-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 747.729KB).

Dr. Olga Achón Rodríguez

Researcher, Grup de Recerca sobre Exclusió i Control Socials (Research Group on Social Exclusion and Social Control), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Born in 1974 at Lleida (Spain), she is an anthropologist from the University of Barcelona, where she gets her Doctorate in Anthropology in 2011. With a keen interest in analyzing the events occurring in her birth place, Lleida, were agro-industrial development led to the arrival of migrant labor force, she focused both of her research works, her dissertation and her doctoral thesis, on the matter. Her first research work treats access to housing for sub-Saharan and Maghreb migrants in the towns of this province and the consequences derived from it. Her doctoral thesis analyses the recruitment and import of labor force from third world countries through a system designed by the Catalonian agricultural union “Unió de Pagesos” and the effects that it manifests in the fundamental rights of workers. In both, a critical perspective is taken to analyze regulations that permits the development of a system of “just in time” deliver of labor through the concentration of foreign workers in lodgments. In her research she also takes a critical perspective towards the institutions that benefit from the intensive use of migrant labor. She is a member of the Research Group on Social Exclusion and Social Control (Grup de Recerca sobre Exclusió i Control Socials) of the University of Barcelona. She starts her first publications with an article on housing and migration, main theme of her dissertation, and with the placing of her doctoral thesis in the digital platform of the University of Barcelona. She also has an article in press on recruitment and import of migrant labor in Spain in a collective work published by Comares publishing.

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