Since the end of free movement within the EU, Britain’s farms have relied on seasonal migrants allowed into the country for just a few months at a time. Denied almost any possibility to change jobs, their situation shows how bosses can use visa rules to blackmail a pliant workforce into swallowing the most degrading conditions.
Jokubas Salyga is a Kone Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki.
Even as governments halt nonessential travel, thousands of workers are being flown from Eastern Europe to pick farm produce in Britain. Housed several workers to a caravan and often paid below minimum wage, their experience shows how “flexible” seasonal hiring allows bosses to flout the most basic workers’ rights.