Last week, an Argentinian newspaper reported that, during a control operation, 16 people were found to be working and living in conditions below those required by Argentinian labour laws. These events occurred in the city of Concordia, Argentina. The article also stated that they worked in blueberry plantations and provided their services to several companies, including Extraberries de Concordia.
Extraberries de Concordia made a firm statement saying that these events are outside the direct responsibility of the company. "At the peak of the harvest we need about 15 workers per hectare, which is a very high number. Most blueberry producers need to hire staff through contractors, who have access to the workforce we require. And it is the contractors who organise both transportation and accommodation for the labourers," affirmed a company representative.
"It is worth stressing that these harvesters worked for all the main blueberry companies of the area of Concordia, not only for our company. Our company deeply regrets this situation. We enforce a rigorous selection process for contractors and only consider those who are registered in the Provincial Registry of Services Companies, which entails that they are subject to strict provincial control. We are confident that contractors offer their workers the facilities and conditions required by the law," stated company sources.
It should also be noted that Extraberries de Concordia is the only blueberry company that individually participates actively in the Network of Businesses Against Child Labour of CONAETI (National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labour), an institution under the Argentinian Ministry of Labour. It is also an active member of the Argentinian Blueberry Committee (ABC), which is also part of this network. "We stand against any kind of work under conditions not accepted by the law, and our participation in this commission proves our principles," concluded the spokesperson of Extraberries de Concordia.
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