Field vegetable gangmaster loses appeal against loss of licence

A West Midlands gangmaster has lost her appeal against the Gangmasters Licensing Authority's (GLA) bid to revoke her licence after it found she was paying field vegetable pickers below the national minimum wage.

Sahra Rizwan, managing director of AN Recruitment of Dudley, appealed against the GLA's revocation of her licence in May last year, but the GLA's findings were upheld by a Birmingham court.

The GLA found that pea and sprout pickers she employed were not having their piece-rate pay made up to NMW levels if they failed to reach it, and also found that that Rizwan "lacked the competencies required to run the business compliantly".

It was also discovered she was working for a firm of accountants three days a week, while one of her supervisors and the farmer to whom she supplied workers dictated how much they would be paid.

The company also failed to provide holiday pay, carry out sufficient risk assessments, provide necessary protective equipment or issue training documents in the workers' own languages.

GLA Chief Executive Paul Broadbent said: "Our findings suggested we had uncovered a case of someone being put up merely to act as a front for a business, and the appeal judge fully backed our assessment."


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