Birmingham gangmaster's licence revoked after infractions

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has revoked the licence of a Birmingham-based gangmaster who was declared "not fit and proper" to hold a licence and who heavily involved a banned gangmaster in the running of his business.

Harjeet Singh was named director of HKM Solutions, which supplied workers to pick and pack spring onions, but both his workers and the GLA did not believe he was the person running the business.

Singh was previously a driver for a revoked gangmaster business run by Kashmir Singh, who has had his gangmaster's license revoked twice - once for "persistent and systematic exploitation of the workers".

GLA chairman Paul Whitehouse said: "This looks like another case of an exploitative gangmaster trying to get back into the business. We have stopped many of these characters already and the message is that they are not welcome and will be stopped by the GLA.

"Workers in agriculture and the food industry are already in a safer place than other areas of the economy, thanks to the work of the GLA. We will not stop searching for the rogues and are already expanding our reach by working closely with the industry to find and block rogues from our regulated sectors."

Singh failed the GLA's principal authority competence test and was declared "not fit and proper" to hold a licence due to him:

- Attempting to mislead GLA inspectors by stating Kashmir Singh, who attended meetings on behalf of HKM Solutions with the labour user, had no links to the business.

- A lack of paperwork.

- Having no evidence to suggest that proper checks had been carried out when a worker who was not entitled to work in the UK was identified.

- Having no draft contracts for workers.

- Failing to provide workers who were not familiar with the rules of driving in the UK with any training.

- Giving workers who were not entitled to do so the task of driving minibuses.

- Using minibuses without a public service vehicles operators licence.

- Failing to co-operate with the labour user to ensure water was available to workers in the fields.

- Having inadequate first aid arrangements.

- Having investigated none of the six to eight accidents that occurred in the pack house or fields and having no accident book available for inspection - even though one of the workers was taken to hospital.

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