The project organizers are preparing a program promoting training and cultural activities for the benefit of the seasonal workers.
Rabat – Spain plans to recruit around 16,500 Moroccan seasonal workers in 2020. The seasonal workers will take part in the strawberries and red fruit harvest season in the region of Huelva, southern Spain.
Morocco’s Ministry of Employment and Vocational Integration made the announcement in a press release after a Moroccan delegation visited the Spanish region to prepare the recruitment operation.
Spanish authorities shared plans to hire 11,000 Moroccan workers who have already participated in a previous season, and 5,500 first-timers.
The experienced workers will receive their work permits starting December 2019 and start working in February 2020. Those who will take part in the harvest season for the first time will receive their permits in January 2020 and start working in March 2020.
The Moroccan delegation to Spain evaluated last season’s results during their meeting with the Spanish delegation. Last year, 14,572 Moroccan workers participated in the harvest season.
During the meeting, the ministry representatives also discussed ways to improve work conditions and the workers’ housing.
The work contracts will have a minimal duration of six months that employers can renew.
The organizers of the operation are studying the possibility of transporting the workers on a boat from Tangier to Huelva.
The two delegations are also preparing a program to promote training and cultural activities for the seasonal workers.
The Moroccan delegation included the secretary general of the ministry of employment, the director of the National Agency for Jobs and Skills Promotion (ANAPEC), and Morocco’s general consul in Sevilla.
Its Spanish counterpart was composed of the general director of migration at the Ministry of Employment, Migration, and Social Security, representatives from Huelva’s government, and the employment, migration, and social security advisor at the Spanish embassy in Rabat.
Thousands of Moroccan rural women participate in the harvest seasons every year. In the past months and years, however, there have been numerous complaints of sexual abuse, exploitation, and unpaid labor.
“In Morocco, they are deliberately looking for those who are cheap and vulnerable to do this work, namely rural women with young children who only understand Arabic, cannot understand their contracts written in Spanish or claim their rights,” one woman told the Guardian.
Despite the reports of abuse and exploitation, the extremely high unemployment rate in Morocco means the project continues to attract many Moroccan workers.
Earlier this year, Morocco set up a committee to deal with the recurring exploitation and sexual abuse complaints, vowing to preempt a repeat of previous scandals and defend the rights of the women it annually sends to Spanish strawberry fields.