Cheap food policy has driven down wages for vulnerable workers

Seasonal staff have been an indispensable part of Irish food production for over 25 years, but they’re often living on site with little in the way of rights

31st May, 2020
Cheap food policy has driven down wages for vulnerable workers
The agri-food sector depends on seasonal migrant labour for work such as picking strawberries. Picture: Getty

Migrant workers, from Latvia to Timor-Leste, are the hidden backbone of Ireland’s multibillion euro agri-food industry. They’re the people who have kept many of us fed during the Covid-19 pandemic; they labour in meat processing plants, mushroom farms, large-scale fruit and vegetable operations and the fishing industry. And yet some of them take home the lowest hourly earnings, at less than half the average rate.

The dependency of the agri-food sector...

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