A new Code of Practice has been set up for labour providers to sign to ensure they obey the law and respect the rights of the workers they hire.

The Code is published by he Ethical Trading Initiative’s Temporary Labour Group and is backed by Defra as well as the Transport and General Workers union and the National Farmers Union.

Food and Farming Minister Larry Whitty said: “I urge labour providers to sign up to the new Code of Practice. For the first time labour providers can be audited against clear, agreed criteria to ensure that they are abiding by the law and respecting their workers. This that do should win the contracts, those that do not should not expect to profit.”

A new Gangmasters Licensing Act comes into force next year, making it illegal for labour providers to operate without licences, and it will be an offence for anyone to use unlicensed gangmasters.