Fair pay and good working conditions will be critical to ensuring labour gaps are filled and workers are retained after the Covid-19 crisis.
Andrew Cronin, managing director at Wagecorp, which provides a payroll and employment service to farmers, said ensuring the UK agricultural industry remained an attractive proposition to workers from the EU was vital and it must ensure workers were protected against potential exploitation.
He said: “Enhancing relationships with workers and labour users is vital to encourage workers to return to the UK, steps taken now to provide additional benefits and multi-lingual services looking after the employment, payment of wages, organisation of holidays and the overall protection of workers will facilitate the return to the UK of much needed labour.”
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority standards set out clear terms and farers should be diligent in who provides workers to them.
Mr Cronin added: “Right now the risk for workers to be exploited when being recruiting in foreign countries has risen, which means enhanced protection measures need to be considered.
“Workers that do not speak or possibly understand the English language fully are at risk to being offered one wage and arriving in the UK to find they receive another.
“Transparent supply chain protection is paramount. Workers require the ability to ask questions to their employers and labour suppliers to understand the answers they receive clearly.”
Mr Cronin said workers should receive pay in accordance with the Minimum Wage Act, in a secure manner and explaining what legal deductions were being made and why.
“By doing so, confidence and trust are maintained and workers will feel secure in coming back to the UK to work,” he added.