The Gangmasters Licensing Authority is setting its eye on the daffodil trade, whose picking season runs from January to April and employs up to 3,000 temporary workers.
Unseasonal spring-like weather means daffodils are expected to make an early appearance, leading the anti-exploitation body to put its plans into place earlier than expected.
The GLA is implementing a programme of checks and ‘proactive awareness-raising visits’ in a bid to clamp down on exploitation of workers, whether that be through pay issues, health and safety or working hours and conditions.
A concentrated week of action involving the GLA, law enforcement organisations and other partners will also take place during the current picking season.
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.
“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,” said GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent.
“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.”