Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Fresh Produce Consortium
1. The Department of Trade and Industry
has existing legislation that regulates Employment Agencies. Whether
this legislation could be amended to regulate gangmasters or whether
a new Act is required is we believe a matter requiring legal advice
and beyond our competence.
2. In developing our position on this matter
we have worked on the assumption that a new Act is required and
we have detailed below our comments on the type of areas we would
like to see covered by such an Act.
(a) Given that there is no existing legislation
there would have to be a definition of what constitutes an Agricultural
Gangmaster, this issue of scope is important as the evidence indicates
that Gangmasters supply labour to other industries such as catering
and food processing as well as to the agricultural industry.
(b) We envisage that the scheme would work
in the following manner:
A code that defines best practice
as well as the evidence required to demonstrate compliance with
that practice would be developed.
A public register of Gangmasters
would be established.
Gangmasters wishing to secure listing
on this register would have to have their compliance with the
code independently audited and would have to support their application
of listing with an auditors certificate of compliance.
The industry: Supermarkets, Packers
and Growers will support a policy that prescribes the use of registered
Gangmasters and proscribes the use of unregistered ones.
(c) Having defined the criteria for registration
the Act would also have to define the arrangements for auditing
3. The following additional information
may be helpful:
(a) The FPC has a Guide for the Use of Temporary
Packhouse Labour. We envisage that the Gangmaster Code of Practice
would be compulsory to this publication and could be developed
using it as a template.
(b) Defra have seconded a member of their
staff to work with Gangmasters and industry to develop a Gangmaster
Code of Practice.
(c) Defra are examining the issues relating
to competition and restraint of trade that such a code might create.
12 May 2003