A range of topics around the procurement and treatment of seasonal staff is being discussed

The House of Lords Horticultural Sector Committee is putting its focus on seasonal workers and asking how much abuse and exploitation they face.

On 11 May, the committee was due to continue its wide-ranging inquiry into the horticulture sector. The first session was set to feature human rights consultant Caroline Robinson; Adis Sehic, policy and research officer at the Work Rights Centre; and Kate Roberts, head of policy at Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX).

The subsequent session was due to take evidence from David Neal, independent chief inspector of borders and immigration; Suzanne McCarthy, board member at the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority; and Margaret Beels, director of labour market enforcement at the Office of the Director of Labour Market Enforcement.

The sessions were expected to cover topics including: 

  • The reliance of the UK horticultural sector on seasonal workers
  • Pressures the UK has faced in recruiting an adequate supply of seasonal workers
  • The treatment of seasonal workers on UK horticulture farms
  • Challenges in identifying and measuring the scale of labour market non-compliance
  • Factors that influence the decision to withdraw a licence from an operator
  • The Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2023 to 2024.

The committee is due to publish its report by the end of the year