Consultation response welcomed by GLA
13th January 2016
The GLA welcomed today’s Government announcement to step up the fight to tackle labour exploitation in the UK.
In its official response to last year’s public consultation into Tackling Exploitation in the Labour Market - carried out to assist the drafting of a new Immigration Bill - the following has now been proposed:
- Creating the role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement to set the strategic priorities for labour market enforcement bodies (the Employment Agencies Standard Inspectorate, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ National Minimum Wage team and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority) in an annual labour market enforcement strategy;
- Allowing data sharing between the Director, the Intelligence Hub, labour market enforcement bodies and other bodies with intelligence that inform the preparation of the labour market enforcement strategy;
- Creating a new labour market undertaking and enforcement order regime, backed up by a criminal offence and custodial sentence – to allow tackling repeat labour market offenders and rogue businesses; and
- Reforming the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to become the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority with stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy.
GLA Chief Executive Paul Broadbent said: “As an organisation formed to protect vulnerable workers we welcome this morning’s announcement and see it as a significant and positive step forward in this ongoing fight.
“Through our work across the past decade we have established a solid reputation - at home and overseas - for our work in safeguarding workers and identifying and tackling unscrupulous individuals who seek to profit by the exploitation of others.
“If agreed, these new proposals would give us the opportunity to build on those firm foundations by providing the GLA with additional powers, enabling us to focus more closely on the worst examples of labour abuse in the UK.
“The public support of our work provides us with renewed enthusiasm to continue our efforts to protect workers in the UK. We very much look forward to the next stage of development in the creation of this bill and will assist in any way we can.”
The bill returns to the House of Lords for the Committee Stage on Monday (18 January).
The full consultation response is available to read here.
Press release issued by GLA Communications and Information Officer Paul Fearn. For more information from the GLA contact 0115 959 7069 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
1. The GLA operates throughout the UK and is a Non-Departmental Public Body.
2. It was formed in 2005 in the wake of the Morecambe Bay cockle picking disaster when 23 Chinese workers drowned on the sands.
3. The GLA licences companies that supply labour (gangmasters) for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering as well as all associated processing and packaging.
4. Its main strategic priorities are to prevent worker exploitation, protect vulnerable people and tackle unlicensed and criminal activity.
5. Under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act (2004), it is illegal both to operate as, or enter into an agreement with, an unlicensed gangmaster.