Landmark powers used
9th April 2018
For the first time ever, the GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) has used legal powers to prevent a West Midlands couple from providing workers without a licence.
Labour Market Enforcement Undertakings (LMEUs) have been issued to a Romanian couple living in Wolverhampton after attempting to supply nine workers to an employment agency.
The Gangmasters (Licensing) Act requires people to have a licence to supply workers in the labour market to prevent labour exploitation and modern slavery. An LMEU can be imposed across the whole of the labour market when a person breaches the law and features a signed agreement to comply with the rules.
It is one of many tools available to the GLAA and others to prevent exploitation and protect vulnerable workers. The sanction was introduced in November 2016 as part of the Immigration Act and has never been used until now.
Ian Waterfield, head of Operations at the GLAA, said: “This is the first time the new powers have been used in the UK and is an important step toward preventing vulnerable people from being exploited in the workplace.
“By law, anyone who wants to supply workers must have a licence to ensure they are acting in the workers’ best interests and aren’t abusing their position of trust. If we find evidence of anyone not working in this way, we won’t hesitate to take legal action against them. We are committed to protecting those at risk from exploitation and ensuring workers get what they deserve.”
The woman, 25, and the man, 29, have both signed the legal agreement, which will run for two years. If it’s breached, the GLAA can take further action and apply for a Labour Market Enforcement Order, which can lead to a prosecution.
The workers involved, who were also Romanian, have since returned to their home country.