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Non-family labour in the Swiss agriculture: a status report and future prospects


Chau, Huey Shy; Kumar, Awanish; Lieberherr, Silva (2015). Non-family labour in the Swiss agriculture: a status report and future prospects. Journal of Socio-Economics in Agriculture, 7/8:1-10.

Abstract

Although agricultural labour productivity has been increasing due to technical progress, agricultural holdings continue to be under price pressure. We argue that we need to critically engage with Swiss production condi- tions from the workers› perspectives. This paper focuses on the working conditions of non-family farm workers and their future prospects. In relating the changing production conditions to the idea of domestic fair trade, we investigate existing initiatives› potential to create better working conditions. We draw on interviews with migrant workers, farmers, and different representatives of agricultural labour in Switzerland. The results show that non- family labour is physically strenuous work with flexible working hours, low wage payment, and little recognition. While introducing a domestic fair trade label is a step in the right direction, it still only improves the working conditions for a fraction of all non-family workers. Therefore, it cannot be a substitute for stronger unions and government regulations.

Abstract

Although agricultural labour productivity has been increasing due to technical progress, agricultural holdings continue to be under price pressure. We argue that we need to critically engage with Swiss production condi- tions from the workers› perspectives. This paper focuses on the working conditions of non-family farm workers and their future prospects. In relating the changing production conditions to the idea of domestic fair trade, we investigate existing initiatives› potential to create better working conditions. We draw on interviews with migrant workers, farmers, and different representatives of agricultural labour in Switzerland. The results show that non- family labour is physically strenuous work with flexible working hours, low wage payment, and little recognition. While introducing a domestic fair trade label is a step in the right direction, it still only improves the working conditions for a fraction of all non-family workers. Therefore, it cannot be a substitute for stronger unions and government regulations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Domestic fair trade, migrant labour, agriculture, Switzerland
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:06 Feb 2017 07:50
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 11:31
Publisher:Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Agrarwirtschaft und Agrarsoziologie
OA Status:Closed
Official URL:http://archive.jsagr.org/v7/YSA2014_Chau.pdf

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