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‘Shocked and concerned’ at seasonal farmworkers’ plight

UK newspaper The Guardian, in its current ‘Rights and freedom’ feature series, focused on a government survey of seasonal farmworkers which shone a light on “unacceptable” welfare conditions in the UK. Read IOSH Chief Executive Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher’s reaction to the story…

“As chief executive of a global body for safety and health in the workplace, I was shocked and concerned to learn that seasonal farmworkers are still being subjected to “unacceptable” working and welfare conditions in the UK (‘No running water’: foreign workers criticise UK farm labour scheme 12 January).

“This is not just shocking from an ethical, moral and legal standpoint but also for the way farms and recruitment operators involved in poor employment practices still fail to see how much this will come back to hurt their own business performance and reputation, as well as the seasonal workers they employ. Protecting workers has to be paramount.

“Those with a stake in any business are no longer interested solely in how it makes a profit. They want to understand how its profit-making affects people and the environment. They want to know how sustainable it is.

“Consumers are watching too. Increasingly, they seek assurance that the products they buy have been made in good working conditions and by people who are treated and paid well.

“Businesses that set high standards for the treatment of their workforce (including their seasonal workers), communities and supply chains are reaping the rewards with stronger performance and growth. This is no coincidence. A business’s social sustainability is the backbone of its resilience.”

Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher
IOSH Chief Executive

To IOSH, social sustainability is not just a ‘nice to have’ but is the backbone of resilience. Find out more about harnessing the power of social sustainability and our new Catch the Wave campaign

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Jeremy Waterfield
Content Officer +44 (0)116 257 3632
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