Authority to end staff exploitation

A new authority should end labour exploitation in the horticulture industry.

Exploitation in horticulture is to be stamped out by the newly launched Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), according to board member Chris Kaufman. The GLA was launched on 6 April with the aim of cracking down on the agriculture, horticulture and food-processing industries where both labour providers and employers are working unfairly. Transport & General Workers’ Union national secretary Kaufman said: “We want to stop the abuses that are going on now by cowboy operators, who make illegal deductions and are not paying the minimum wage. “It’s tempting for employers, including in horticulture, to get things as cheap as possible.” From October it will be an offence for a gangmaster to operate without a licence. It will be an offence to use an unlicensed gangmaster by December. Kaufman said that to get a licence, they will be audited to ensure they are following the law. He said it would protect all workers, including the large number of migrant workers, but the GLA would have to make sure the laws were properly enforced.

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