New Seasonal Worker Interest Group launched to tackle exploitation in UK agriculture

By Evie Breese - 08 November 2023

The Work Rights Centre is a charity that advises and represents seasonal horticultural workers’ interests, among others. Our caseworkers have supported migrant workers on the Seasonal Worker Scheme visa with issues ranging from wage theft, illegal recruitment fees, poor housing, and discrimination based on nationality.

With consistent reports of seasonal workers being treated poorly, there is a dire need for a forum designed exclusively to discuss and advocate for workers' rights. We, along with colleagues from other civil society organisations, have set up a new  Seasonal Worker Interest Group to help bring the true experiences of workers to the attention of policymakers, industry and key stakeholders.

Public statement announcing the new Seasonal Worker Interest Group 

Key civil society organisations and trade unions actively supporting and engaging with migrant seasonal workers in agriculture on the UK’s Seasonal Worker visa are launching a new coalition, the Seasonal Worker Interest Group. 

The Seasonal Worker Interest Group is an alliance of key organisations that provide support to or advocate for migrant seasonal workers. As the only group working exclusively in the interests of migrant seasonal workers, the coalition seeks urgent action in response to growing incidences of poor treatment of workers on the Seasonal Worker visa identified by its members. 

It aims to secure immediate improvements to the Seasonal Worker visa to safeguard all migrant seasonal workers. It will also serve as a forum for dialogue between those working on this issue, and a platform for engagement with Government, Industry and the wider public about the treatment of migrant workers in agriculture, the design of the Seasonal Worker visa and its oversight. 

No mechanisms currently exist which allow for worker interests to be effectively heard and pursued. The Seasonal Worker Interest Group now provides the opportunity for policymakers, industry and key stakeholders to better understand the true experiences of workers. 

The new Group will work collaboratively to support and advocate for migrant workers on the Seasonal Worker visa, using the wealth of evidence that members have gathered to inform productive policy recommendations to both Government and industry stakeholders alike. 

The Seasonal Worker Interest Group is comprised of the following members: 

Organising Committee: 

  • Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU) 
  • Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) 
  • Work Rights Centre 
  • Worker Support Centre 

Associate members: 

  • Trades Union Congress 
  • Unite the Union 
  • FairSquare 
  • Anti-Slavery International 
  • The Landworkers’ Alliance

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