how the uk ignored migrant worker abuses on farms
Migrant workers working on farms in the United Kingdom (UK) have been suffering racism, wage theft, threats and appalling conditions. However, the authorities did not take any action to protect migrant workers.
The Bureau for Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and The Independent revealed that the UK’s agricultural workforce faced greater levels of exploitation, including racism, wage theft and threats of being sent back home.
The Home Office, a ministerial department of the British Government responsible for immigration, knew about the abuses but failed to protect migrant workers from appalling conditions.
What happened to migrant workers in the UK?
According to The Bureau for Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), migrant workers traveled thousands of miles to come to the UK to get a job in the agricultural sector. They were lured by the prospect of work and decent wages. However, when they came to the UK, migrant workers faced racism and appalling conditions.
Reportedly, seasonal workers employed across UK farms also faced racism, which was a blow to human rights and workers’ rights. The Home Office failed to prevent modern slavery.
The Bureau for Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) accessed 19 farm inspection reports produced by the Home Office between 2021 and 2022 to study the plight of the migrant workers across UK farms.
Nearly 44% of the 845 workers interviewed as part of the inspections revealed that they faced racism, wage theft and threats. They also faced mistreatment or discrimination at the workplace.
UK ignored migrant worker abuses on farms
A migrant worker revealed that she was forced to stay inside a caravan without access to medical assistance or food for 11 days because she caught Covid-19. She was starving but recruitment companies did not help her.
Another migrant worker was denied dental care and he had to pull out his own tooth. A manager at another farm mistreated migrant workers. She yelled at migrant workers, saying, “I am a pure-blooded English woman, I will stay to live here and you will go back to your poor countries.”
Another migrant worker revealed that she only got a 15-minute break during her working hours, and she was prevented from taking another break. She did not get any break to go to the toilet, drink water or eat until she hit her targets. She told the media, “All that is missing is a whip to beat people.”
There were also complaints about privacy and safety. Migrant workers did not receive any help from the Home Office.
Last year, foreign workers criticized the UK farm labor scheme. They said that workers were living without bathrooms and running water. They were subjected to “unacceptable” welfare conditions.