GLA hits the road to protect workers in Norfolk
29th April 2008
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has hit the road to protect the safety of workers travelling to factories, packhouses and farms in the Thetford area. The GLA along with police and DWP benefits section in Norfolk organised a vehicle stop as part of The Respect Action Week initiative, which took place in Thetford on April 14, 16 and 18. The operation revealed:
• A vehicle transporting workers driven by a driver with no PCV driving licence and no Hire & Reward insurance, which resulted in the Police seizing the vehicle.
• A gangmaster who hasn’t declared they provide accommodation and who is charging in excess of the allowable maximum deduction of £30.10pw
• suspected unlicensed gangmaster activity
• Workers for one agency hadn’t received contracts The sting was the first involving the GLA in the Norfolk area and has been one of several involving the GLA in the UK.
Chairman of the GLA, Paul Whitehouse, said:
“The GLA will be actively following up the information gathered during the vehicle stops. It is extremely important to assess the vehicles which workers are travelling in because an unsafe vehicle or and unsafe driver can lead to serious injury or death.”
Notes to editors
1. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority was set up in 2005 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.
2. There are currently more than 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 and Proper’ person criteria. Cross government checks are made on all licence applications.
4. It has been an offence to supply labour to the GLA regulated sectors since 1 October 2006, with the maximum penalty being ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
5. All licences that are revoked have the right of appeal including licences revoked with immediate effect.
6. Copies of any appeal decisions can be obtained from the appeals secretariat Gangmasters Licensing Appeals, Defra, Electra Way, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 6GJ Telephone: 01270 754231, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public enquiries: 0845 602 5020
Media enquiries: 0115 900 8963/07825 797130