Delegate Name: Helen Engbers
Worker exploitation is classified as unsafe working conditions, poor hours, substandard wages, and a disregard for labor laws. Overall it is the abuse of a person by the company they work for, mentally, or physically. Spain is moving in the right direction by putting in some labor laws for the protection of full-time and part-time employees, such as protection against unfair dismissal, a guaranteed minimum wage, and the right to collective bargaining. They are also Securing benefits for workers such as paid leaves and Social Security among other things. While Spain is making worker protection from exploitation a priority there are still places in the country that need more work, an example of worker exploitation is the Spanish cities of Almería and Huelva.
This agricultural region boomed around 20 years ago by using migrant workers who farm over half of Europe’s produce which results in the company making over 1.5 billion US dollars a year. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t share their profits with the migrant farmhands who only make $40 a day. A group of 3,000 Moroccan women travel every year to Huevla where they harvest strawberries just to work excessive hours and are paid below minimum wage. A report done by Ethical Consumer found that the companies in Almería and Huelva were violating labor laws in Spain such as forced labor, union busting, excessive hours, unsafe working conditions, payment less than minimum wage, discrimination, sexual harassment, and inhumane treatment. Spain disregarded the findings and funded a statement in 2022 that said “The miracle of Spanish food exports would not exist without labor exploitation.” The local government also knows about the unfair treatment that goes on and pays no attention to it.
While Spain has fair labor laws they should spend more time enforcing them in situations like Almería and Huelva and just in general. If worker protection from exploitation does not become more of a priority for countries it will become increasingly unsafe, and dangerous and could build and become an even more life-threatening case like slavery or servitude. I believe we can still keep people safe and healthy while maintaining a consistent stream of income from the agriculture movement in Almería and Huelva. For the people of Spain, I believe it is in Spain’s best interest to recognize the urgency of this issue. With Spain on board, I believe they can help the UN to minimize the estimated 50 million people this issue affects. We can achieve this by setting a high standard for the Future Leaders of the world to set and enforce labor laws that keep the working class safe and healthy.