Thousands of agency workers will be entitled to greater employment rights following a tribunal that ruled in favour of a group of Polish workers in the food processing industry, saying they should be considered employees rather than self-employed.

The workers, who worked at Welsh Country Foods in Winsford in Cheshire, were evicted from their accommodation following dismissal in 2005.

The case, Kalwak & others v Consistent, has implications for thousands of agency workers and the agencies who employ them, some of whom class their workers as self-employed, avoiding paying holiday pay, sick pay or pension contributions.

The case was brought by union Unite, which was formed on 1 May 2007 from a merger of unions amicus and the T&G.