GLA Licence revoked in Kent
19th February 2009
The licence of High Class Recruitment based in Welling has been revoked after the GLA were informed that the manager of the business Mr Paul Sangster had left the company.
After numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the remaining director to check if the business was still trading, the licence was formally revoked. No appeal was made by High Class Recruitment against the revocation.
The GLA cannot allow a licence to be held when it is clear that no person currently working for the company is permitted to act as a gangmaster. If the business is found to be operating without a licence in the GLA regulated sectors they would face prosecution with penalties of up to ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
An earlier inspection in September found that no records were available to confirm the hours worked and the gangmaster could not produce timesheets when requested.
The GLA had demanded that this was rectified immediately and proof of this to be provided. It was also found that holiday pay had not been paid as no worker had ever requested a day off. The gangmaster immediately issued a letter in Nepalese to encourage workers to book time off and understand their holiday entitlement. Proof was again demanded that this would be paid.
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the GLA said:
“If nobody has responsibility for the workers, there is a significant risk to their safety and welfare. The protection we provide to workers relies on named individuals facing the consequences if they step out of line.”
Notes to editors
1. 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.
2. The majority of workers involved in these industries come from countries such as: Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Pakistan and Portugal.
3. So far, 1,210 labour providers hold a GLA licence. Eighty five licenses have been revoked (eight with immediate effect). One person has been prosecuted for operating without a licence, with more prosecutions forthcoming.
4. The GLA stepped up its fight against those who abuse workers with the launch of Operation Ajax in June. The operation was set up to increase the GLA’s activities with an 18 month programme of unannounced raids.
5. Paul Whitehouse, GLA Chairman, is available for interview by contacting 0115 900 8962 6. 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