On Monday, a minister order took effect, concerning the transport of Romanian seasonal workers abroad
This spring, farming across Europe is severely affected by the absence of the seasonal workers involved in harvesting, triggered by the travel restrictions imposed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these seasonal workers used to come from Eastern Europe. This is why Romania introduced a number of conditions applying to the Romanians who leave for seasonal work abroad.
The regulations are included in a Transport Ministry order under which all charter flights taking Romanian seasonal workers abroad must be scheduled at minimum 4-hour intervals.
Under the order, the companies organising such flights have to notify the flight schedule ahead of time. Recruitment agencies are also bound to provide people with protection equipment, including masks and gloves, and workers will not be brought to airports more than 4 hours prior to take-off time, the regulation also says.
Recruitment agencies will organise the transport only after they have received the greenlight from airports. Moreover, they must have at least one representative at the airport, to provide assistance to passengers, including in case of delayed or cancelled flights.
The document tackles problems such as the one reported late last week at the airport in Cluj-Napoca, north-western Romania, when nearly 1,500 seasonal workers crowded in front of the airport, thus breaching the social distancing rules imposed under the military orders issued in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
Romanian workers are being brought into Germany for seasonal farm work after the local farmers warned that without Eastern European labour, harvests will be compromised. In Berlin, the agriculture minister cautioned that, in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, seasonal employees will have to comply strictly with the safety measures imposed by the authorities.
According to the BBC, Germany, which usually employed some 300,000 seasonal workers in agriculture, has so far allowed 80,000 people to enter the country for this purpose.
Several flights have taken Romanian workers from Sibiu (centre), Cluj-Napoca, Iaşi (north-east) and Bucharest over the past few days, and similar operations are scheduled for the forthcoming days.
On the other hand, a number of flights to Germany have been cancelled recently over failure to comply with the provisions of Military Order no. 8 issued in Romania, under which such flights have to be approved by the Transport Ministry 48 hours prior to take-off.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)