Some 56% of employers in the agricultural sector inspected by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last year were in breach of employment law.

Of the 39 inspections carried out in the agricultural sector last year, 22 were found to be in breach of employment law obligations.

In total, the WRC recovered €35,584 in unpaid wages in the agri sector in 2023.

In meat processing, 86% (five out of six) inspections by the WRC were found to be in breach of employment law. No wages were recovered in this sector.

In veterinary and animal health services, 56% (five out of nine) inspections were in breach, with a total of €3,619 in unpaid wages recouped.

Overall, 4,727 employers were inspected by the WRC in 2023, with 64% of these carried out because of a risk assessment.

Some 17% were as a result of a WRC campaign and 13% due to complaints.


As part of a Europe-wide inspection initiative to identify serious international crime, a week of inspections from 13 to 20 September was carried out by the WRC against labour exploitation in the agriculture sector.

Of the 14 unannounced inspections undertaken, nine employers had employment law breaches. A total of 13 contraventions of employment legislation were detected.

These inspections were carried out across Ireland on employers operating within the agricultural sector including forestry, horticulture farms and livestock farms.

The European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) is a security initiative driven by EU member states to identify and address threats posed by organised and serious international crime.

The WRC participates in EMPACT joint days of action focused on labour exploitation and human trafficking, which involves labour inspectorates and police forces across Europe.