Misconceiving ‘seasons’ in global food systems: the case of the EU Seasonal Workers Directive

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This article discusses the EU Seasonal Workers Directive alongside case study data of seasonal agricultural work in Spain. The conceptual contribution is to critically consider ‘seasonality’ and the related assumptions around temporary labour migration for agricultural work. This consideration informs an analysis of the directive’s policy approach alongside its three global objectives. It is argued that this directive is likely to fail to meet all three of these objectives; the assumed time-frame for labour demands does not correspond with unmet seasonal challenges; the lack of options for undocumented workers already in the EU may compound their marginalisation; the policy approach of circular migration and limited worker protections does not do enough to prevent new seasonal workers from falling into situations of vulnerability and undocumented status.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberVolume 23, Issue 3-4
Pages (from-to) 157–171
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Law Journal
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017

Structured keywords

  • Cabot Institute
  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • Perspectives on Work


  • Seasonal Workers Directive
  • European Union
  • Spain
  • Work
  • Seasonality
  • Labour
  • Agriculture
  • Migrant workers
  • Farm work
  • Migration
  • Globalisation
  • Global Food


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