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The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has agreed a landmark protocol with the UK's major retailers and their suppliers to help tackle worker exploitation.
The agreement is the culmination of extensive talks and consultation with the retailers and the supply chain over the last two years. The protocol sets out how the GLA will work with the industry to make sure proper standards are in place and includes how intelligence should be reported to the GLA, how information will be shared between all parties and what should happen after a GLA operation to make sure workers are protected.
Asda, Co-operative Food, Iceland, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose have all signed up to the Protocol. Suppliers' involvement was led by the Fresh Produce Consortium and the National Farmers Union.
GLA Chairman Paul Whitehouse said, "much has been achieved in recent years in protecting workers from abuse in the UK food industry. But problems still exist. The Equality and Human Rights Commission's report into the meat industry highlights some of the challenges that remain. This Protocol shows that everybody in the industry is determined to make sure workers are treated fairly and legitimate businesses are not undercut by rogues."
The main features of the Protocol are:
- Supermarkets and suppliers will provide the GLA with information about any suspected breaches of the GLA's licensing standards. The GLA will provide advice on what action the supermarkets and suppliers could take to make sure workers are best protected.
- The GLA, supermarkets and suppliers will work together to tackle worker exploitation that has been uncovered by a GLA operation.