“I give respect to the unimportant things and unimportant beings. I appreciate bugs more than planes.
I value the speed of the turtles more than the speed of the missiles.
I have this delay of birth in me. I was equipped to be like birds.
I have plenty to be happy about it. My backyard is greater than the world.”
(poem called ‘Respect’ by Manoel de Barros)
I have an umbilical link with rural workers.
I am the son of father and mother who were hard rural workers, owners of small piece of land in the interior of the State of São Paulo (Borborema municipality), Southeast Brazil.
I myself, throughout my childhood and adolescence, and even completing university, when on a vacation, worked on the land: planting, harvesting, weeding, helping with cattle management, etc. I have incredibly beautiful memories of my past in the countryside. I am proud of my past.
This zine is a small part of my project entitled “Rural Workers” and is, for the reasons just described, a tribute to my parents, Mr. Antonio Mozetto (descendent of Italians) and Mrs. Eliza Llobregat (descendent of Spaniards), who lived and enjoyed the benefits of the land throughout their lives. I was born on February 4, 1947, and my mother, pregnant, worked on the small coffee plantation my father had until the end of the day just before I was born.
I also dedicate this zine to the tireless rural workers, men and women, of this immense country. They are people who, from the sunrise until the sun sets, dedicate themselves tirelessly to the hard work in the production of food that we all have at our table.
There are those rural workers who work on their own piece of land, like my parents did, while others are employed and are, for this reason, subject to many other risks. These workers work under conditions that, in many cases, disregard present laws that were written to promote their physical and mental protection and guarantee them social rights like any other citizen.
These workers are exposed to many types of direct and indirect physical and mental hazards. Such risks are synergistically expressed, cumulative throughout their lives. Not always the Rural Regulatory Norms (the NR 31 on Safety and Health at Work in Agriculture, Livestock Forestry, Forest Exploration and Aquaculture of 2005) is obeyed, a norm that brought advances in relation to the previous existing legislation in the country. However, in spite of some advances brought by the NR31 of 2005, many are still needed, as serious noncompliance with legislation and many forms of slave labor (including of children) are still present in various regions of Brazil. An example of this is the case of children working in the açaí harvest in Pará, often victims of serious accidents (ACS / Cristiane Reimberg on 06/08/2017 – Working conditions in the countryside are still worrying).
Although a large number of companies employing rural workers meet the requirements of NR31 of 2005, one must consider the characteristics of rural activities (agriculture and livestock) which, of course, are hard to develop. This is the case as rural workers are exposed to chemical risks (insecticides, herbicides, ripening …); (heat, cold, humidity, solar radiation); mechanics (friction, pressure, vibration, inappropriate individual protection equipment (IPE); organisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses and venomous animals); and organizational (shift, overtime, payment for production, lack of employment bond …). These risks can also be classified as operational (posture, strength, repetitive movement and weight loading) and accidents (truck crashes, wagons and tractors, falls in the work environment, perforations, twisting caused by mechanical agents throughout the body, pesticides, attack of venomous animal).
The regulation NR 31 was created to minimize these risks, creating social protection, formal work bond, more adequate physical protection, time of journey, pause, feeding, hydration, appropriate individual protection equipment (IPE). The literature also describes the challenges to improve transportation, food and living conditions.
Everything is disciplined in NR 31, but in the day to day of the inspection are found situations of noncompliance like Kombi (Volkswagen wagon) and bus with adapted wooden benches, transport in truck bodies, shelters for meals and inadequate sanitary facilities. In some cases, there is even no supply of drinking water (ACS / Cristiane Reimberg on 06/08/2017 – Working conditions in the countryside are still worrying).
I hope that this work will contribute in some way to the development of a greater awareness on how hard the activities carried out by rural workers in Brazil are, at times, developed under almost inhumane conditions, of the risks to which they are imposed to and of their great social importance they have in the development of this country.
I hope you enjoy the photos of this zine as well as the story behind it.