12 migrant workers killed in Italy road crash: Fire service
Twelve migrant agricultural workers were killed Monday when the van transporting them during tomato harvest season smashed into a lorry in southern Italy, the Italian fire service said.
All those who died in the crash, which took place near the city of Foggia in Puglia, were non-EU citizens, the fire service told AFP.
It added that three other people were injured, one of them the lorry driver.
Every summer thousands of migrants from around Europe and Africa work in the area picking tomatoes.
Italian media has reported that the migrants were being taken back to their makeshift homes after their day's work, when their van slammed head-on into a lorry transporting harvested tomatoes.
It was almost like another crash on Saturday, in which four African farm workers were killed and four others seriously injured also in a collision with a tomato truck.
Although most migrants working the fields in Italy have regular papers, they live in squalid conditions and suffer tough working conditions and low pay.
They are often at the mercy of day labourer recruiters sometimes linked to organised crime, who operate as intermediaries to farmers who themselves struggle with large retailers forcing down the price of produce.
For years, unions and associations that help migrant workers have called for a public transport system to be created around Foggia for the peak harvest season.
Dozens of African agricultural workers living in one of the area's shanty towns decided on Sunday to go on strike on Wednesday following Saturday's accident, representative of the USB union Aboubakar Soumahoro told AFP.
"At dawn, the workers will march from the countryside to Foggia, in order to claim dignified working conditions," he said.
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