Mr 16% has licence revoked in posted workers scam
7th October 2009
A Bulgarian Gangmaster had his licence revoked after bringing in workers to the UK in breach of Bulgarian rules on posted workers and then taking a huge cut of the workers‟ wages for himself. Mr Kostadin Todorov of Todorov and Co Limited based in Plovdiv Bulgaria, failed in his appeal to overturn the GLA ruling and will be prosecuted if he attempts to provide further workers without a licence.
The workers, all Bulgarian nationals had been supplied to fruit farms in the Arbroath, Angus and Cambridgeshire regions had reported to the GLA that they had to pay 16% of their salary to Mr Todorov (as well as Mr Todorov making a weekly charge to the Farmers he supplied his workers to) and neither the workers or the GLA could find any explanation as to why this needed to be paid. Even when the workers received their money it was often late and some did not receive payslips and holiday pay.
Although Mr Todorov maintained the workers had been correctly "posted‟, to the UK to work in the agricultural sector the GLA investigation which involved two GLA Officers travelling to Bulgaria in pursuit of their enquiries, uncovered that the applications for Todorov's workers to be "posted‟ to the UK had been turned down by Bulgarian authorities as the way the workers would be supplied did not meet the Bulgarian requirements for the Posted Workers Scheme.
As well as „exploiting‟ his workers, Todorov‟s actions caused concern and hardship to the UK Farmers who entered into contracts with him as they were faced with large National Insurance demands associated to workers wages which had not been met by Mr Todorov.
Other issues uncovered included, the vast majority of workers had not been given a copy of their contract with some being asked to sign blank documents on a bus prior to leaving Bulgaria. All of the workers concerned returned to Bulgaria after the GLA commenced enquiries in August 2008 and some have taken up matters regarding unpaid wages by Todorov and Co through authorities in their own country.
Paul Whitehouse Chairman of the GLA said:
“I have sympathy for the workers who took the job in good faith, but none for Mr Todorov. His actions have harmed the workers and also brought financial penalties on the farms that he supplied” “We are fortunate in having good relations with the Bulgarian authorities so that we can deal with this type of scam.”
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, 1,198 labour providers hold a GLA licence. Over 100 licenses have been revoked (8 with immediate effect). One person and one business 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