Dr. Jennifer Hamilton (UU)
This seminar will examine the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland and discuss the issue of forced labour within the sector. The agricultural sector in the UK is characterised by a declining local or ‘primary’ labour market and an increasing temporary secondary market. The mushroom industry in general is characterised by intensive use of migrant labour in European and US contexts. In addition, there is a long history of significant concerns raised about working conditions and health impacts on workers in the industry, such as long working hours, poor housing, low wages, unsafe working conditions, abuse and isolation. This research investigated the extent of abuse of workers’ rights in the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland and the seminar will discuss the findings including exploitation and unlawful practices. Forced labour is closely associated with human trafficking, an issue which has become more prominent in Northern Ireland.
Date of seminar: 7 March 2013.