Two year ban for Peterborough gangmaster
17th November 2009
A Peterborough gangmaster has had his licence revoked after failing to meet so many GLA licensing conditions that the number of penalty points recorded was over six times the amount needed to revoke a licence.
Mr James Smith, the Manager of labour providing business JR & JD Smith has also been declared as "not fit and proper‟ to hold a GLA licence and under the GLA standards introduced in April 2009 now faces a two year ban from acting as a gangmaster. Mr Smith could not prove that he was paying national minimum wage to all workers as accurate records were not kept.
The workers who were supplied by JR & JD Smith were picking flowers known as "Sweet Williams‟ in the Spalding area of Lincolnshire, where they were interviewed by GLA officers. When inspecting the business GLA officers found:
Minibuses used to transport workers were not correctly insured, and the main listed driver did not have a current driving licence
Eight worker files did not contain copies of the workers identification documents and one worker had no paperwork at all. These documents are used to check that the individual worker has the right to work in the UK
Workers had to buy their own personal protective equipment and Mr Smith did not know if the workers, both men and women had any toilet facilities that they could use during their days of working in the fields.
Workers were not paid the agricultural minimum wage overtime they were due
Mr Smith admitted that he did not pay sick pay or maternity pay
There was no agreement between Mr Smith and the labour user over the responsibility for the health and safety of the workers.
There was no evidence that the workers had been trained
There were no records to show which workers had been supplied to a subcontractor Paul Whitehouse Chairman of the GLA said:
“Employers who pay workers by productivity must ensure that any shortfall is made up to national or agricultural minimum wage levels.
“Those who break or bend the rules need to be dealt with to ensure that legitimate businesses do not suffer. We will no longer tolerate gangmasters whose licence is revoked and reapply - Mr Smith will have to wait at least two years before he can reapply, and then we shall look very carefully at him.”
Notes to editors
1. The GLA revoked the licence of JR & JD Smith as they had scored 184 points of failures against the GLA licensing Standards, where a score of 30 will lead to a licence revocation.
2 The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was set up to curb the exploitation of workers in the agricultural, horticultural, shellfish gathering and associated processing and packing industries.
3. The majority of workers involved in these industries come from countries such as: Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Pakistan and Portugal.
4. So far, 1,185 labour providers hold a GLA licence. Over 100 licenses have been revoked (8 with immediate effect). Two people and one business has been prosecuted for operating without a licence, with more prosecutions forthcoming.
5. 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 programme of unannounced raids.
6. Interviews are available by contacting 0115 900 8962
7. Anybody who would like advice on their employment rights or who would like to complain about exploitation in any sector of the economy should contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368 or textphone 0800 121 4042.
8. Anybody who is aware of exploitation should contact the GLA on 0845 602 5020 or report anonymously at www.gla.gov.uk/report
Public enquiries: 0845 602 5020
Media enquiries: 0115 900 8962