Major Investigation into treatment of flower picking gang labour
7th May 2009
A gangmaster has had his licence revoked after a major investigation into the treatment of gang labour used first to pick flowers in Cornwall before moving on to Scotland. Investigations carried out in Cornwall and Scotland, found that Mr Michael Smith of AAW Contract Services „not fit and proper‟ to hold a GLA licence. The GLA has given notice that it intends to revoke the licence of AAW Contract Services Limited.
The decision to revoke the licence will take effect from the 21 May 2009, unless an appeal against the decision is lodged within a defined timescale. In effect this means that AAW Contract Services Limited must cease trading in the regulated sectors from 21 May 2009 unless an appeal is lodged.
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the GLA said:
“The set up of this business raises many questions They have the right of appeal and I will leave further comment until that right of appeal has been exhausted”.
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, 1,229 labour providers hold a GLA licence. Ninety One licenses have been revoked (8 with immediate effect).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 2008. 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