Two year ban for Spalding gangmaster
4th November 2009
A Lincolnshire gangmaster has had his licence revoked after misleading the GLA and breaching a variety of licensing standards including illegal deductions, and breaching minimum wage requirements.
Mr Nuno Moitinho, the Director of Soma Recruitment Ltd 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.
When inspecting the business GLA officers found:
Mr Moitinho claimed he did not provide accommodation to workers, when records clearly showed that he did
He had failed to declare a past conviction
He had fallen into arrears with VAT payments Transport deductions took pay below national minimum wage levels
Accommodation charges were twice the level set for minimum wage workers and reduced wages below minimum wage levels
Vehicles used to transport workers were not correctly insured.
Soma Recruitment Ltd did appeal against the GLA decision but their case was dismissed.
Mr J. Blackwell, the Appointed Person who heard the appeal against the GLA decision, said:
“This is an appeal with which I have little sympathy. The appellant‟s explanations have, at times, been inconsistent and have been less than frank.”
Paul Whitehouse Chairman of the GLA said:
“The law is there to protect workers and to ensure business requirements are met. These are basic rules that the vast majority of gangmasters have no problem with”.
“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 Moitinho 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 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, 1,185 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 Over 100 licenses have been revoked (8 with immediate effect).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.
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 programme of unannounced raids.
5. Interviews are available by contacting 0115 900 8962
6. 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.
7. 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