New gangmaster rules come into force for food sector Published: 29 September, 2006
ROGUE gangmasters will come under heavy pressure thanks to a new law which takes effect from this weekend.
From Sunday, a new law comes into force requiring all
gangmaster businesses in agriculture and food
processing to be licensed.
Gangmasters who continue to trade without a licence will
be acting illegally and face potential penalties of up to
10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) who started accepting licence applications in April, have welcomed the applications from businesses who were eager to distance themselves from the rogues and demonstrate that they were operating legitimate businesses.
Mike Wilson Chief Executive of the GLA said
“It is simple to separate the legal operators who are licensed from the illegal operators who are not. There are no excuses for anybody in this industry to deal with the rogue operators.
“The GLA will start enforcing the new law immediately. We will use all means available to find illegal operators and prosecute them.”
The GLA enforcement teams will use their new powers to deal with the illegal operators trading in the sector and to investigate, gather information, interview, arrest and prosecute those operating in the sector without a licence.
The Prime Minister said at the TUC conference that
The Gangmasters’ Licensing Act must not simply be
in effect, but must be
enforced and vigorously.
Jeff Rooker, Minister for Food and Farming said:
“The Government has given the GLA the resources and
powers to ensure a level playing field for legitimate operators. Workers coming into our food processing and farming industries deserve assurance that they will be treated fairly.”
Jack Dromey, T&G Deputy General Secretary said:
“It was the daily experience of our members in food
and agriculture that led the T&G to fight for the gangmasters licensing act. The abuses workers reported were not limited to shaving a few pounds here and there off wage packets – they were enduring systemic and organised exploitation where rogue labour providers had neither respect for their workers nor regard for the law.
“So we welcome the fact that these abuses will be regarded as criminal and those food and agricultural labour providers caught exploiting their workers, and labour users deliberately using unlicensed providers, will face severe punishment, including up to ten years in jail.
“Tough penalties and robust enforcement of the law are the
only way to tackle the rogues who abuse workers and undermine good employers. We fully support the GLA in its drive to locate these menaces and deny them a livelihood built on the misery of others.”
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was set up to curb the
exploitation of workers in the agriculture, horticulture, shellfish
gathering and associated processing and packaging industries.
www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.