New labour supply law
Farmers and growers who use a labour provider to supply people to pick produce will soon need to ensure their labour providers are fully licensed, as the Government rolls out a new scheme to protect workers and raise industry standards.
From April 2006, businesses that supply workers for agriculture, horticulture and shellfish gathering will need to apply for a licence from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA). Businesses big and small must apply for a licence. The new licence also applies to those supplying workers to the food processing and packaging industries.
The GLA was set up in April 2005 to curb the exploitation of workers. The organisation plans to work with the industry to make sure all labour providers meet minimum standards.
In 2006 it will become an offence to operate without a licence and for farmers or other labour users to use labour from unlicensed sources.
To help labour providers improve standards and meet the new requirements, they can apply for a voluntary audit of their business. This will look at payment of wages, hours worked and general treatment of workers. The audit will be carried out by the Temporary Labour Working Group, an industry-led body made up of representatives from the NFU, Trade Unions, supermarkets and other interested parties.
To help farmers find licensed suppliers, the GLA plans to publish a register of businesses with licences on its website.
Employers lose fear of migrant workers
Article in Personnel Today, April 2006
Concerns about recruiting migrant workers have receded to such an extent that employers no longer fear attracting negative publicity by hiring them to fill jobs.
A study by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) in 2004 found the majority of employers believed the public perception towards migrants was so negative that recruiting them would harm their business.
But senior HR professionals at businesses across the UK told Personnel Today that the quality of migrant workers meant potential public image issues are no longer a concern.
Transport operator First-Group is about to hire its 1,000th EU bus driver. Jim Dalton, the company’s European recruitment manager, said: “The benefits of using migrant workers are enormous. I don’t see why any organisation would be scared of employing them.”
Steve Carpenter, head of HR at coffee shop chain Caffé Nero, said: “We have a very positive view of migrant workers, and this is demonstrated by the fact that we have 66 different nationalities employed with us.”