New guidance issued to ensure ethical labour standards in UK food supply chain
Fair and legal treatment of workers is essential for building sustainable business, yet the food and agricultural sector supply chain is targeted by criminal gangs and exploitative individuals who subject vulnerable people to the worst forms of hidden labour exploitation, including human trafficking and forced labour. In 2012, 29 per cent of cases of trafficking for forced labour reported to the UK Human Trafficking Centre occurred within the food processing and agricultural sectors.
Only last week the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) revealed that 20 Romanian nationals had been rescued by police in County Armagh. The 14 men and six women had been working in a meat processing factory and were identified as potential victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation.
Stronger Together is today launching new guidance, entitled & lsquo;Transparency in the UK Food Supply Chain – Guidance on ensuring ethical labour standards’ The document, which is free to download at www.stronger2gether.org, lays out pragmatic and straightforward good practice for UK-based growers and producers.
Specifically, businesses are being encouraged to incorporate a three-step approach into their management practices. Step one is to map and risk assess the supply chain. Step two is to set and agree standards with key suppliers for the supply and management of labour and services. Step three involves working in partnership to ensure due diligence with those agreed standards.
The new guidance is the latest in a series of resources made available to businesses by Stronger Together, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in October 2013 to help tackle modern day slavery.
David Camp, Director of the Association of Labour Providers and Programme Manager for Stronger Together, says: “Stronger Together equips employers with the knowledge and resources to deter, detect and tackle hidden forced labour in their supply chains by providing access via www.stronger2gether.orgto a range of free resources, including best practice guidance and a toolkit containing multi-language workplace posters, leaflets, template forms and procedures and a powerful video.”
The Stronger Together website also provides access to places on & lsquo;Tackling Hidden Worker Exploitation’ workshops being held across the UK to further help businesses understand their responsibilities and the best practice associated with combating modern day slavery.