23 May 1997

Code plan for worker gangs

LEADING multiple Sainsbury is developing a code of practice for growers using agricultural gangmasters to employ workers.

Ian Merton, Sainsburys director of produce buying, has discussed the code with Transport and General Workers Union agriculture national secretary Barry Leathwood.

The talks follow a Channel 4 film, shown last month, which revealed a range of malpractices on farms in East Anglia growing produce for the major multiples.

Mr Leathwood said the union had been fighting for years for a code of practice to regulate gangmasters.

It had already set up a register of gangmasters, asking them to keep a proper wages register and comply with the Agricultural Wages Board order.

Mr Leathwood also raised the issue during the unions first meeting with farm minister Jack Cunningham on Monday. Pay and employment, health and safety and future reform of the CAP were also discussed.