2020 through the eyes of Europe’s ‘unseen’ key workers

A farm worker in Britain

Ingrida Bernotiene lives 珠海夜网and works on a salad farm in Kent,southeast England.
The 33-year-old is originally from Lithuania and started working in agriculture aged 20, as a seasonal worker. She is now a production manager and helps oversee seasonal workers in the fields.
Bernotiene has worked throughout the pandemic, often spending whole days outside checking crops.
England entered its first national lockdown in March and a second one in November. The UK has been one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, with a tally of more than 71,000 deaths linked to Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. But farms have continued to operate, in a crucial effort to maintain food supply.
“We were working day by day, six days a week [in the summer],” Bernotiene told CNN, adding that her schedule had
Bernotiene said staff took precautions to socially distance and that during the summer the pandemic limited leisure opportunities.
“[There was] no traveling, no socializing, no pubs or restaurants,” she said.
“We work a lot, […] so usually in the summer anyway we have no proper life, so we [did not] miss … much.”
“That was the most difficult thing,” she told CNN.
“They couldn’t visit me [and] I couldn’t visit them. Usually we see each other maybe once or twice a year.”
Bernotiene will spend Christmas on the farm this year, where she and her boyfriend are planning to celebrate with a turkey for two.

Taxi drivers in Italy

He added: “There is just no request for mobility … the entire sector is at a standstill without any solutions ahead.”
Mancinelli’s comments were echoed by Andrea Carlieri, another of the city’s taxi drivers.
“Solidarity is talked about often, but in reality is a lot less.”
Carlieri added: “I have hope from the health care point of view even if I believe that economically, 2021 will still be very negative.”

A postal worker in France

Esther Benderradji has three small children and lives in the small town of Senones in eastern France.
The 39-year-old has worked as a postal worker for the past five years and occasionally uses a “staby,” a three-wheel electric scooter, to deliver the mail.
France imposed a stringent new lockdown in late October. Some of the restrictions were eased on December 15 but several remain in place. as the government grapples with a high Covid-19 case count.
“We are living in rural areas where the elderly are looking forward to seeing the postman, especially when they are cut off
“It has become even more important to go see them, to maintain the link.
“During the first lockdown, people left us little notes on the mailbox, saying ‘Thank you postman.’ It really warmed our hearts,” Benderradji added.
“But during the second lockdown, these little notes have disappeared, there are no more thank you notes, no more daily gratitude. Maybe people have got used to this. The postman has gone back to being the postman.”

A security officer in Britain

Fane MacDonald works in security at a major hospital in central London. The 26-year-old started the role during the pandemic. His job includes having to turn away distressed family members, who are barred from visiting relatives in hospital under strict Covid-19 restrictions.
“Traditionally most of our work is to ensure that no one is coming
On December 23, the country recorded 962 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest figure since the start of the pandemic, and five growing optimism across the continent that people will return to some semblance of normality within the next year.
But for many unseen workers, who carried on with their jobs during the lockdowns and crises of 2020, life will remain much the same.