More UK workers turning to meat sector

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority is reporting that more UK workers are taking up jobs in meat processing factories due to the recession.

The GLA says its inspectors first noticed the trend in the run-up to Christmas.

Previously the trend had been in the opposite direction - with more of the production line and packing jobs going to immigrants, especially East European workers.

GLA chairman Paul Whitehouse commented that this was the first time this trend had been noted since the GLA was set up in 2006.

"We're starting to see many British people in some of the places we go to, which we haven't seen before. A lot of people are having to take whatever work they can. Some of these are basic minimum-wage jobs."

Mr Whitehouse also warned that, due to the credit crunch, there was downward pressure on gangmasters and employment agencies to cut wage levels, with less scrupulous employers undercutting legitimate employers.

Mr Whitehouse added there was a danger that some agencies could end up breaking the law by paying below the minimum wage.

The GLA was set up to protect workers in the food processing and agriculture industries following the death of 23 illegal Chinese migrants in Morecambe Bay in 2004.

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