Gangmaster loses appeal against licence revocation following vegetable packing raid
6th August 2008
A company which supplied workers to a Midlands vegetable packing firm has lost its appeal to continue trading. An unannounced raid at Simms and Wood in December 2007 led to the investigation of three gangmasters who were providing workers to the vegetable packing firm. Newtex Limited was one of three businesses supplying workers to Simms and Wood of Evesham whose licences were revoked in December 2007.
The GLA had found major discrepancies which included:
• A failure to account to HMRC for tax and national insurance contributions deducted from workers’ pay
• failure to pay wages in accordance with the Agricultural Wages Order
• failure to pay holiday pay and failure to ensure that workers are legally entitled to work in the UK
The company was allowed a period of time to continue trading after appealing the revocation but this month Newtex UK Ltd was told to cease trading after its appeal against the GLA decision had been dismissed.
The Appointed Person, giving his appeal verdict, said:
“The appellant received a fail score of 54 points, nearly more than double the 30 points required to fail. In total there were significant failings by the appellant, a majority of which have largely been admitted.
“It follows that in accordance with my findings, the decision by the respondent to revoke the appellant’s licence was correct and the appellant’s appeal against that decision is therefore dismissed.”
Paul Whitehouse, GLA Chairman, said:
“The GLA uncovered unacceptable practices by Newtex Ltd. We are very pleased with the Appointed Person’s decision to uphold our decision to revoke Newtex’s licence.”
Notes to editors
1. So far, the GLA has licensed approximately 1,200. 70 licences have been revoked (7 with immediate effect).1 person has been prosecuted for operating without a licence, with more prosecutions forthcoming.
2. 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.
3. Paul Whitehouse, GLA Chairman, is available for interview.
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