Some 57 employer inspections were carried out in the agricultural sector by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in 2021, with this figure including horticulture inspections and representing a combined 894 employees.

Of these inspections, some 54% of employers were found to have been in breach of employment law, according to WRC’s 2021 annual report.

A total of €28,189 was found to be underpaid to workers by the WRC over the course of such inspections last year.

Over half of these inspections were carried out under the European Labour Authority’s initiative to support fair and safe working conditions for seasonal workers across the EU.

Meat processing sector

In the meat processing sector, five inspections were carried out by the WRC in 2021, with three employers found to be in breach of employment law. These workplaces employed some 422 employees.

Some 11 veterinary and animal health service employers were inspected by the body, three of which were deemed to have operated in breach of workers’ rights.

A total of 4,432 inspections were carried out across all sectors by the WRC last year, with non-compliance with employment legislation found in 28% of cases.

Two meat processors - Troys Abattoir Limited of Dalystown, Co Westmeath, and Boyne Valley Meats of Ardcath, Barristown, Co Meath – were listed by the WRC as having been found in breach of employment law in 2021 and to have been convicted.

Last year, the only individual listed as being convicted for breach of employment law was Damian Whoriskey of Keeldrum Middle, Gortahork, Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

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