Seasonal Workers Scheme Taskforce
Industry trade bodies, retailers, growers, recruiters and non-profits have come together to establish the Seasonal Workers Scheme (SWS) Taskforce to safeguard workers’ rights within the UK Seasonal Workers Scheme. The Taskforce will focus on implementing practical actions to improve the responsible recruitment and employment of migrant workers into UK farms, and to work with Government departments on the operation of the Scheme.
Concerns have been raised in previous seasons around exploitation risks faced by some migrant workers on seasonal worker visas during their recruitment and employment. In autumn 2022 a series of multi-stakeholder roundtables were held, focussed on developing practical solutions to respond to these risks.
As a result of the roundtables, a number of working groups were established, and a series of projects were funded by UK Supermarkets with industry input:
- Seven regional roadshows to support grower good practice in recruiting and employing seasonal workers and an accompanying toolkit
- Development of a common responsible recruitment assessment of the Scheme Operators
- Further development to the multi-language Just Good Work worker-information app, which Scheme Operators have also contributed to.
Moving forward, the taskforce will progress a range of workstreams focussed on improvements that can be made within the current design of the Seasonal Workers Scheme.
- Workstream 1. Education, information and grievance mechanisms
- Workstream 2. Due diligence and good practice during recruitment
- Workstream 3. Due diligence and good practice on-farm
- Workstream 4. Scheme costs, recruitment fees, retained earnings and remediation
- Workstream 5. Policy, enforcement and stakeholder communication
The taskforce will also engage with Government departments and enforcement agencies on potential changes to Scheme rules, regulation, oversight and enforcement.
The Taskforce is currently made up of over 50 organisations including retailers, growers, Scheme Operators, trade and membership associations, migrant worker community organisations and non-profits, who actively contribute to and support the various working groups and activities. Taskforce activities will be co-ordinated by Stronger Together, as Secretariat, and governed by a multi-stakeholder Governance Committee with representatives of the Association of Labour Providers, British Retail Consortium, Concordia, Co-op, DPS, Ethical Trading Initiative, Fresh Produce Consortium, Focus on Labour Exploitation, Food Network for Ethical Trade, Gs Fresh, International Organization for Migration, M&S, Proforce, Work Rights Centre, Worker Support Centre Scotland.
- Download the Grower toolkit
- Explore the Just Good Work app
- Download Scheme Operator Assessment Documents