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Discuss inequality in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) in relation to employment and citizenship - Essay Example

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Inequality in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) in Relation to Employment and Citizenship Introduction To meet the increasing demand for agricultural work force during peak season months, the Canadian government established the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) that provides seasonal jobs through employment of foreign workers from other countries like Mexico…
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Discuss inequality in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) in relation to employment and citizenship
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Download file to see previous pages The employment for immigrant seasonal agricultural workers is fast rising as the industry expands. However, there had been many complaints of abuses and practices of inequality in the treatment of the seasonal-hired workers even if the manual tasks in the farm for the farm growers were rejected by Canadians and residents themselves. This paper will discuss how SAWP and non-citizenship of workers lead to practices of inequality and abuse. Discussion The SAWP has good intensions: to fill in the need for more workers for economic growth, and provide employment for foreigners who need them. They were chosen for gender (mostly males), have commitment at home or dependents to make them want to return (temporary) and from needy countries without lands to till and poor (Preibisch and Ecalada Grez, 297). However, many of these seasonal workers report negative experiences of inequality from their employers and local co-workers. The documentary film El Contrato of Min Sook Lee showed the stark condition of Mexican contract workers in Canada under the SAWP. The film through the accounts of several workers narrates allegations of exploitation to the point of slavery for these short-termed workers. Accusations ran from seven-days a week of continued work, taxed salaries which were said to be provided to them in full at $7/hour of work time, cramped living quarters, farm factory kitchens without chairs for dining, forced work more than the specified hours in their contract (Preibisch and Ecalada Grez, 298) and even reduced salaries. The film also showed how the workers sought to have dialogue with their employers and consulate, and sought help whichever way they can. However, despite the promises, the abusive practices of the workers’ supervisors of yelling, physical attack, reduced compensations, health hazards and accidents, lack of medical assistance, among others, were sustained. Preibisch and Ecalada Grez (297) spoke of other abuses on workers that include segregation of workers, and preference for majority of males for manual and work requiring carrying of loads, while females for fruit handling and packaging. These practices were seen to be reinforced by their status as non-migrants and non-citizens who have no legal option to become migrants and citizens. The SAWP was an answer to the refusal of residents and Canadians to tackle agricultural work for reasons of low wages, unsafe and unacceptable working conditions, its seasonal character, and poorly regulated labor environment (Sharma, 248). The farm jobs given the SAWP workers have been described as 3D- dirty, dangerous and difficult (Villegas, 9 Lecture notes). Another unacceptable practice is the lack of safety among workers such as the absence of information of the dangers posed by pesticide exposures, farm machineries and equipment. Seasonal workers are not aware that these are threats to their health. Where there was harm done, medical attention was also delayed if provided at all. Since, these workers live in the farm, their employers provide housing. However, most of these housing units were substandard (Lee, film; Sharma, 249). These has been seen to be promoted in part by Bill C-11 introduced in March 2001 of which there is increased security in Canadian borders, provision of flexible employment terms for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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