The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has developed a new 10-point checklist for workers in the UK poultry industry to help them understand their rights in the workplace and spot the signs of labour exploitation.
Educational posters created by the GLAA will be distributed to a dozen poultry sites in England, Wales and Scotland as part of a six-week pilot project starting this month which has been backed by the British Poultry Council.
The posters feature the top 10 labour rights chicken catchers and other poultry workers should expect from their employer, covering the following areas:
• Contract, including working hours, holidays and time off
• Working conditions
• No threats or abuse
• Water and rest facilities
• Health and safety
The posters will be available in four different languages including English and also include QR codes directing workers to the GLAA and partners’ websites for further information on their rights.
The checklist is based on the legal requirements in the GLAA licensing standards, which protect workers from poor treatment and exploitation.
P D Hook, Avara Foods and 2 Sisters Food Group have signed up to the pilot project, which began on 17 December.
Once the pilot is completed and evaluated, the GLAA will build on this by producing a more detailed document educating and reminding labour users of their responsibilities to their workers.
GLAA Investigating Officer Adam Wright said: “Through my numerous compliance inspections in this area, I have found that the poultry industry is a very distinct part of the labour market which often does not share many similarities with other parts of the GLAA-regulated sector.
“Our engagement with industry stakeholders has resulted in collective contributions from within the sector towards this pilot, all of which will ultimately benefit workers.
“While the requirements in this poster have been designed with the poultry sector first and foremost in mind, they should be standard practice for responsible and compliant businesses across the labour market.
“Paying someone the National Minimum Wage and providing them with the correct equipment and training is as relevant for someone working at a car wash or on a construction site as it is for a poultry worker.
“Ensuring that workers understand their rights and the signs of labour exploitation is crucial in maintaining healthy, productive workplaces. We hope that this much-needed resource will help to achieve this alongside our regular compliance inspections and targeted enforcement activity.”
Bev Bishton, Head of HR for Chicken Operations at Avara Foods, said: “In our view, one of the most effective ways of tackling modern slavery is also one of the simplest: making sure that every individual understands their basic rights.
“Working alongside the GLAA, and making the most of their expertise in investigation and enforcement, is an essential part of our work to ensure high standards and ethical treatment of workers throughout our supply chain.”
Rachel Hackett, Group Sustainability Director at 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “We are pleased to be working with the GLAA to pilot the workers’ checklist. It is an effective way to get important information to colleagues at our sites, and it gives them the means to source additional information if required.
“We look forward to discussing the findings from the pilot with the GLAA and seeing the workers’ checklist rolled out across our sector and beyond.”
James Hook, Managing Director at PD Hook, said: “PDH has been happy to work alongside the GLAA in creating this essential educational tool for workers.
“We trust that it will provide people with all the information they need about rights in the UK labour market, and offer a way of seeking help if needed.”
You can find and download the poster from the resources section of the GLAA website.