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Posted by on in Discrimination
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Progress in treatment of agency workers

A taskforce set up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has helped the meat and poultry processing industry bring about marked improvements in the way both British and migrant agency workers are treated, according to a recent report.

The taskforce was created two years ago following the Commission's wide-ranging inquiry into recruitment and employment practices in the sector.

The inquiry revealed serious allegations of ill-treatment and discrimination against agency workers, and pregnant women in particular.

The inquiry also highlighted tensions between different nationalities working together in the sector. British workers were potentially being treated in a discriminatory way due to stereotypes about nationality and work ethic, and migrant workers claimed they suffered abuse and discrimination as a result of their nationality and language barriers.

While the Commission's review highlights clear signs of progress, it also reveals that challenges still exist within some firms - for example management coercion of workers and threatening behaviour.

The review includes a set of recommendations to tackle these issues, and the Commission will continue to work with processing firms, labour providers, supermarkets and other regulators to ensure that all workers are treated fairly.

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