Council and Lincolnshire Police back new app that provides support to farm workers
Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police have backed a new app that provides support to farm workers.
The Farm Work Welfare app provides guidance to farmers and workers to help tackle exploitation.
In a sector which often uses recruitment agencies or third-party labour providers, the app gives guidance to farmers and growers on how to prevent labour exploitation.
Farmers will be able to access practical information on licensed labour providers, document verification and the rights of workers.
The app will also provide information on employment rights in eight languages for the thousands of workers who come every year to help with the harvest of fruit and vegetables on UK farms.
It will also allow both farmers and workers to flag up concerns about labour exploitation or modern slavery and seek help, with the information processed by the Modern Slavery Helpline.
The app has been developed by The Clewer Initiative, in partnership with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the National Crime Agency, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the Church Commissioners for England and fresh produce supplier the Fresca Group, as well as the Modern Slavery Helpline.
Councillor Barry Young, chair of the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership, said: "The rural nature of our county, and the scale of our seasonal employment market, can put certain workers in Lincolnshire at risk of being taken advantage of. Criminal gangs can pose as legitimate labour providers and trick farmers into unwittingly hiring victims of modern slavery. Workers themselves may be unaware of their employment rights and not recognise that they are being exploited.
"This new app puts a safeguard in place for workers and farmers, letting them know what they should expect and giving them an opportunity to report any concerns.
"I'm proud to say that Lincolnshire is one of safest places in the country to work. It is through joint innovative initiatives like this that we can continue to keep it so."
Lincolnshire Police and crime commissioner, Marc Jones, added: “Modern slavery and the exploitation of the vulnerable is a barbaric and despicable crime that is not just a criminal act but a violation of our humanity.
“Often businesses can be unwitting victims of the gang masters peddling this foul trade, so anything which can help is to be welcomed and supported.
“The app is easy to use and will help farmers and growers avoid unwittingly using unlicensed and criminal labour providers. For pickers who may not be familiar with UK worker rights, it will provide vital information, in eight languages, on what they can expect.”
You can download the app for free for both Android and iOS devices; search for Farm Work Welfare.