Temp Force Ltd found guilty of illegal unlicensed activity
9th November 2012
On 6 November 2012 Mr Baljinder Bhandal, sole Director of Temp Force Ltd, and the corporate body, Temp Force Ltd, were found guilty of offences contrary to section 12 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004. Mr Bhandal pleaded guilty.
Mr Bhandal was sentenced to:
6 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months
200 hours community service Disqualified as a Director for 5 years
Ordered to pay £1500 towards costs Additionally, the company itself was sentenced to:
£5000 fine plus £15.00 victim surcharge
Mr Bhandal, whose company was registered to his home address in Smethwick, Birmingham, had previously applied for a GLA licence on behalf of Temp Force Ltd in 2009 and again in 2010. In the first case he failed to pay the required application fees. The second application was initially made in the name of his wife, Harpreet Kaur Bhandal, in February 2010, was refused. His subsequent appeal was dismissed.
The company operated by his wife, which held a GLA licence, was dissolved in September 2010. It had a contract for the supply of chicken catchers. From October 2010 to May 2011 Temp Force Ltd took over the contract that had been let to United Labour Ltd, by Summers Poultry Products Ltd. However, Temp Force Ltd operated without a licence contrary to section 12 of the Act.
The labour user, Summers Poultry Products Ltd had pleaded guilty to the offence of using an unlicensed gangmaster in January 2012, and received a £2000 fine, and ordered to pay £2700 costs.
Margaret McKinlay, GLA Chair, said:
“This result demonstrates that GLA and the Courts take very seriously those individuals and companies, who operate illegally. A failure to declare the true circumstances, put forward other people to attempt to obtain a licence, or take over the contract of another company without a licence will be robustly dealt with and prevented. This is the second time that the GLA has secured a Director disqualification. The GLA will continue to seek such orders to prevent unscrupulous individuals operating under a GLA licence in the future.”
Notes to editors
1. In relation to the 2010 application, Mr Bhandal had requested that the application be transferred into his name. Checks undertaken by the GLA identified that Mr Bhandal had not declared an unspent conviction or that he was also the company secretary of a company, United Labour Ltd, operated by his wife, which had significant tax debts. His appeal was dismissed in January 2011. A copy of that appeal can be found on the GLA website here: http://gla.defra.gov.uk/PageFiles/1382/74.%20Temp%20Force%20Limited% 2043.E.R.pdf
2. It is a criminal offence to provide labour in the industries regulated by the GLA without a licence. It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed labour providers.
3. 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. The Act establishing it was passed in 2004.
4. Protecting workers is the key aim alongside protecting legitimate labour providers and protecting the tax payer by uncovering unpaid taxes.
5. The GLA regulate the supply of workers and labour services to its sectors in the UK. These include agriculture , shellfish gathering and food processing
6. The GLA assess compliance against its licensing standards which reflects UK legislation, including Forced Labour Offence. Licensing Standard 1.1 covers whether a person is “Fit & Proper” to hold a licence.
7. The GLA is committed to the Governments regulatory principles, and does not conduct inspections without reason where potential risks may be identified.
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