Licence revoked for Hertfordshire Gangmaster
16th June 2009
A St Albans gangmaster business has had its licence revoked by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) after an inspection found multiple non-compliances. Extrastaff Limited appealed against the decision and a pragmatic approach brokered by legal representatives of both parties allowed them to continue trading until a new licence application was considered. Extrastaff then reneged on this agreement and despite strong legal representations failed in their bid to get the licence reinstated.
The appeal was dismissed and the licence was revoked on 18 May 2009. Extrastaff Limited who in 2005 won the Recruiter award for Best Regional Recruitment firm for London and the South East also have offices in Ilford, Hanger Lane, Dunstable, Enfield, Dartford, Northampton, Watford, Harlow and Basildon. If any of these offices now supply labour or a labour service into the GLA regulated sectors they will be prosecuted for operating as an unlicensed gangmaster.
The GLA found: When the GLA inspected in May 2008, they found that worker files were missing details including the workers names, there were inadequate worker contracts, incomplete training records and an inadequate contract between the labour user and provider which did not stipulate who was responsible for worker health and safety.
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the GLA said:
“This is a sorry case that wasted a lot of people‟s time and inevitably a lot of money in legal costs. I hope Extrastaff learn lessons from this and that the non-compliances are not mirrored in sectors they supply to that are outside GLA regulation”.
The GLA currently licence 1,230 gangmasters and the GLA has uncovered worker exploitation and illegal activity that led to the revocation of 93 licences.
Notes to editors
1. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority was set up to curb the exploitation of workers in the agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and associated processing and packaging industries. It was set up following the death of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay in 2004. The majority of workers involved in these industries come from countries such as: Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, India Pakistan and Portugal.
2. There are currently 1230 gangmasters licensed by the GLA
3. A gangmaster is an individual or business who:
supplies labour to agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging
uses labour to provide a service in the regulated sector, eg harvesting or gathering agricultural produce
uses labour to gather shellfish.
To be granted a GLA licence all businesses must meet the GLA licensing standards and the principle authority of the business must meet "Fit or Proper‟ person criteria. Cross government checks are made on all licence applications.
4. The GLA stepped up its fight against those who abuse workers with the launch of Operation Ajax in June 2008. The operation was set up to increase the GLA‟s activities with an 18 month program of unannounced raids.
5. The GLA has recently launched a consultation with the food industry on a protocol developed with retailers to drive out exploitation issues in supply chains. Currently all major supermarkets are involved and it is hoped a signed agreement, together with good practice guides, aimed at preventing the exploitation of workers will soon be in place.
6. Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the GLA is available for interview.
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