HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc775-6W
Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to publish a code of practice for gangmasters; what subjects it will cover; what legal status it will have; and which bodies will be consulted on it prior to publication. [129771]

Mr. Bradshaw

Work is currently going on to draw up a code of practice for gangmasters operating in the agriculture and fresh produce sectors, covering best practice in employing people and supplying labour to other businesses. The intention is that it should cover a range of issues relevant to employment and labour supply, such as health and safety, minimum wages, working hours, entitlement to work and VAT registration. Plans are being prepared to trial the draft code of practice on a voluntary basis with a number of gangmasters and businesses using gang labour during the autumn. Decisions on publication of the code and on its legal status will be taken in the light of this trial. A range of bodies and individual businesses, representing farmers, farm workers, packhouses, retailers and gangmasters, and the Ethical Trading Initiative are working in partnership with Government to develop and pilot the Code of Practice. Further bodies will be consulted once a draft version of the Code is available.

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