The Equality and Human Rights Commission today announced the launch of one of the main evidence gathering strands in its Meat and Poultry Processing Inquiry.

The Inquiry, which was launched in February 2009, is looking into the employment and recruitment practices of the sector in England and Wales. It seeks to identify differences in pay and conditions between agency and temporary workers – many of whom are migrants – and employees with permanent or directly employed status.

The Commission, working with the leading market research agency GfK NOP, will be sending a questionnaire to agencies that provide staff to the industry. A separate questionnaire is being sent to meat and poultry processing firms.

The questionnaire will be exploring recruitment and employment practices, particularly those relating to temporary, agency and self-employed workers.

Neil Wooding, Lead Commissioner for the Inquiry, said:
“We’re launching this questionnaire because we want to fully understand how employment and recruitment works in this sector.

“We need to be aware of the opportunities and constraints which affect the use of labour in the sector, the pressures faced in the current economic climate and the sector’s good practice in recruiting and deploying staff.

“In order to make practical and meaningful recommendations, we are engaging with employers, labour providers and their representatives and listening to their views and experiences.”

The Commission will ensure that the information gained from the questionnaires is used to highlight what works and what could be improved in the sector’s use of labour and to consider ways in which good practice examples can be developed across the board.

The questionnaire is being sent out on July 9 and needs to be completed by August 6, 2009. It will be available to complete electronically.

For more general information about the Meat and Poultry Processing Inquiry, please visit our webpage