Tunisian-Italian trade union cooperation for the economic and social rights of women agricultural workers in Tunisia

The economic and social rights of women agricultural workers in Tunisia are at the heart of the EU funded cooperation project “FAIRE – Women Workers in Agriculture: Independence, Networking, Empowerment”, set up by various organisations, including Nexus Emilia Romagna, the international cooperation institute of Italian trade union confederation CGIL Emilia Romagna.

Led by Italian NGO COSPE, in partnership with trade union NGO Nexus CGIL Emilia Romagna and a number of Tunisian and Italian partners, including the agricultural sector federations of the Italian trade union confederation FLAI - CGIL and its Tunisian counterpart FGA - UGTT, the project’s aim is to create the tools and the environment required to ensure respect for women agricultural workers’ socio-economic rights. This aim will be met through capacity building on the socio-economic rights of institutional actors, civil society organisations and trade unions, along with support for local initiatives to empower women agricultural workers.

Nexus is in charge of coordinating all the activities aimed at women workers and unionists. As part of the project, a study has been undertaken on Tunisia’s labour law and social protection system. The study, which includes the findings of a field survey involving more than 450 women agricultural workers, provides an insight into the shortfalls of the existing legislation, the violations of it, and the working conditions of women employed in agriculture. It also sets out 50 recommendations for the revision and implementation of existing legal provisions.

Nexus has also launched a campaign to raise the profile of the yet to be implemented Framework Collective Agreement for the agricultural sector, signed in 2015 by the UGTT and Tunisian agriculture and fisheries trade union (UTAP). The campaign is an advocacy action for the application of the agricultural framework collective agreement and to launch the debate on the draft sectoral agreements prepared by FGA - UGTT. It targets labour inspectors and controllers of the National Social Security Fund, local associations, trade unionists and female agricultural workers. and is targeted at labour inspectors, as well as CNSS (National Social Security Fund) inspectors, local associations, trade unionists and women agricultural workers.

A training programme has also been set up for trade unionists in the agricultural sector on innovative ways of approaching women agricultural workers and raising their awareness, such as union caravans, local watchdogs, gender communication in union work, labour relations, social security cover, and occupational injury and illness prevention schemes.

Finally, a multi-stakeholder platform has been set up aimed at promoting consultation and advocacy in favour of socio-economic rights for women workers in the agricultural sector. Through participatory workshops involving representatives of all the stakeholders in the field, thematic groups were launched to deepen the debate on the legislation relating to the work, health and social security and transport of women agricultural workers. The aim is to draft an operational advocacy plan on priority recommendations, based on the 50 recommendations set out in the study

For more information: