Gangmasters' Prosecution Highlights Risks
Businesses – particularly those involved in the horticulture, farming and food industries – which hire temporary labour to help with processing and packing, should double check the credentials of the organisation they’re hiring them from. Failure to do so could see them served with an injunction leading to a court appearance, fine or even imprisonment.
That’s the message from recruitment specialists, Driver Hire. It follows the news that a West Midlands personnel agency has had its licence revoked after the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority (GLA) discovered repeated exploitation of vulnerable workers whilst deliberately setting out to mislead the Authority.
Since the turn of the year, the GLA has revoked four Gangmasters Licences at businesses across the UK. The main reasons for non-compliance were health & safety, payment of wages, issues with tax and national insurance and questionable contractual practices.
Introduced in 2006, Gangmasters licensing prevents the exploitation of an estimated 60,000 workers in the UK. Under the regulations, labour providers supplying workers to agricultural businesses and the food processing industry are legally required to have a Gangmasters Licence. Equally, it is illegal for a labour user to hire workers from an unlicensed provider.
“To retain our Gangmasters Licence we must meet very stringent conditions,“ says Chris Chidley, Driver Hire’s Chief Executive. “I strongly recommend that anyone hiring workers involved in the picking, processing and packing of products such as fruit, vegetables and seafood, makes sure they are dealing with a GLA compliant supplier .That way they know the workers they are using aren’t being exploited. They’re also avoiding running the risk of a fine or court appearance.”
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