Unannounced inspections check welfare of workers in Lincolnshire
14th October 2019
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has conducted unannounced compliance inspections in rural Lincolnshire to check on agency workers’ welfare and tackle any potential unlicensed activity.
GLAA officers visited three labour providers and seven labour users in the South Holland, Boston and East Lindsey areas on Wednesday and Thursday (9 and 10 October).
In total, 24 agency workers were interviewed, covering areas such as their working hours, conditions, pay, holiday entitlement, and accommodation.
Lincolnshire and the east of England more widely is a key region for the GLAA due to its high levels of agricultural, food processing and packaging work, all of which requires licensed labour providers.
The GLAA is responsible for inspecting businesses that are licensed and investigating those operating without a licence or where there are allegations of worker exploitation.
Using its compliance powers, the GLAA can carry out inspections and revoke licences if licence holders are deemed to be not adhering to the regulations.
If anyone is found to be operating as a gangmaster without a licence, the GLAA will take enforcement action.
The penalty for acting as an unlicensed gangmaster can be as high as 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
GLAA Head of Compliance Martin Jones said: “The visits first and foremost were organised to check that potentially vulnerable workers are not being exploited in our regulated sectors and are getting paid what they deserve.
“I’m pleased that the interviews were all positive and that the workers are happy with their labour providers.
“We hope this visible operational activity acts as a deterrent to anyone who was considering flouting our regulations and ignoring our licensing standards. We will find out and we will use all available tools to ensure that you cannot continue to work in our regulated sectors.
“The public also has a crucial role to play. For example, have you seen people being forced to work excessively long hours over a long period of time? Do they know their home and work address? Are they living in substandard accommodation?
“These are just some of the many signs of exploitation. Let us know if you spot any of these signs and we can investigate.”
Anyone with information on suspected forced labour or unlicensed activity in agriculture and food processing should contact the GLAA’s intelligence team, either by phone on 0800 4320804 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.