A recent undercover exposé of migrant workers at FW Mansfied & Son by Channel 4 News alleged that Romanian workers lived in ‘appalling conditions’ supplied by labour provider Pro-Force.
Channel 4 Business Editor Siobhan Kennedy said, ‘One Pro-Force manager filmed undercover tells the workers they must pay for gas and electricity… in addition, workers have to pay £5 a day for the shuttle bus that takes them to and from the field and pack house – again more potential income for Pro-Force. On one occasion, workers ask for a short break to have water. We witness the boss threatening to throw them all out and replace them with other workers.’ Channel 4’s report showed images of faeces-encrusted toilets; soiled, sodden carpets; mould-infested walls and dirty showers.
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority, together with customers Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer all launched investigations. Aldi and Waitrose also suspended their orders from Nickle Farm.
However, both FW Mansfied and Pro-Force hit back at the allegations. Matthew Jarrett, Managing Director, Pro-Force Limited commented, “Pro-Force operates in a highly regulated sector, and is under constant scrutiny by third party auditors. We are monitored continually, and have never failed any of the numerous unannounced audits carried out, demonstrating our best practice in all aspects of our business. He said that the footage had been, “edited together to create the impression Channel 4 News clearly wanted to portray.”
W Mansfield & Son described the Channel 4 News report as ‘false’, saying it painted a ‘highly selective and completely distorted and unrepresentative picture of our business.’