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Warm weather prompts early flower arrangements for GLA

Families can eat Christmas lunch with British daffodils on the table thanks to the unseasonably warm weather … and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) says it is working hard to stem any exploitation of those who pick them.

The picking season typically runs from January to April and gathering the blooms requires between 2,000 and 3,000 temporary workers – the majority of which are provided by GLA-licensed companies.

But the shoots emerged weeks ahead of schedule and are already being gathered in Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and even into North Wales.

GLA chief executive, Paul Broadbent, said, “The perfect spring-like growing weather we’ve experienced in the UK in recent weeks has fooled the daffodils into making an early appearance.

“As such, the GLA has responded with the early implementation of our programme of checks and proactive awareness-raising visits.

“Each year we carry out inspections to make sure all labour being provided is correctly licensed in order to prevent any mistreatment or exploitation of the migrant workers who come to this country for the flower harvest.

“Like the daffodil season this year we have started early in educating not only the agencies who source and provide the pickers about how to operate lawfully and in line with GLA standards but also the farmers and growers who employ the pickers."

The GLA exists to protect vulnerable workers supplied to work in the UK fresh produce sector and prevents their exploitation through prescribing stringent standards in areas such as pay, health and safety and working hours and conditions.

Broadbent said the current activity would be paying particular attention to the condition of the accommodation and transport supplied by agencies who provide pickers.

“As the pickers tend to follow the emerging blooms through the UK, it is important to spot and tackle any exploitative practices as soon as possible to prevent such issues from spreading to other geographical areas,” he added.

A concentrated week of action involving the GLA, law enforcement organisations and other partners will take during the current picking season.

The pickers will eventually move on from Cornwall and Wales into Lincolnshire and then up to Scotland where the last of the season’s blooms are collected.

Around half the UK’s daffodil crop is exported each year but with no frost forecast in the foreseeable future and even higher temperatures expected this week, the shops are likely to be full of British daffodils throughout the festive period.

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