The Guardian “apologises” (La Voz), “prints a letter” (The Guardian)

A triumphant piece in today’s La Voz (page 26) talks about The Guardian’s piece on modern day slavery in Almería’s greenhouses (remember this fuss?).

Under the title “The Guardian publishes on its webpage the criticisms received from Hortyfruta”, La Voz hints that this is a sort of apology for “the sensationalist manner in which it showed how some migrant and illegal immigrant workers lived in the province”.

Worth pointing out, for readers of English, that all it’s done is publish a letter received from the local fruit cooperative.

Only 38,500 legal migrants working in Andalucia?

I’m also baffled by the claim in the letter that “Andalusia is not immune to this and, with the area employing over 38,500 legal migrants[..]”.

Surely it’s more than 38,500 farm workers across the whole of region?

No, hang on, here’s something from INE: work permits given to immigrants in the field of unskilled agricultural labour: 34.435 (2009).

In 2008 it was 42.719 and in 2007 a total of 70.437 permits were granted. Hmm. That’s a drop of over 50% in two years.

Quite a few of them (21.6% of men and 16.07% of the women) work in Almeria (

I also found out that the Andalucian agricultural sector grew in 2008 by 3.43% (according to Unicaja) although the 2009 agricultural figures were down on 2008 by about 20%, mainly due to falling food prices, but production only dropped by about 8% in 2009 over 2008.

So, in a time of falling food prices (ie, less cash coming in per potato), but with production remaining somewhat steady (2009 being about 5% down on 2007 figures) we find that work contracts amongst the most vulnerable sector of workers (immigrants) have dropped by 50% over the same time frame.

So what do you think: mecanisation, employing more EU citizens instead of the cheap Africans, or just not bothering to fill in the paperwork and pay all those taxes now that we’re not making so much cash?

Of course, this is a quick and dirty post typed out whilst enjoying a coffee in 5 minutes, and it could all be hogwash. But I’m sure a sociologist with more time than I would be able to find out something interesting from all this.

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