Bulgarian gangmaster found to have exploited fruit farm workers

A Bulgarian gangmaster has had his licence revoked after bringing workers into British fruit farms on a bogus posted workers' scheme -- and then taking a huge cut of the workers' wages for himself.

Kostadin Todorov, of Bulgaria-based Todorov & Co, failed in his appeal to overturn the Gamgmaster Licensing Authority (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.

They had to pay 16 per cent of their salary to Todorov – as well as Todorov making a weekly charge to the growers to whom he supplied his workers.

Neither the workers nor 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.

The GLA investigation also 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 requirements for the Posted Workers Scheme.

Those British growers who entered into contracts with him were faced with large National Insurance demands associated to workers' wages that had not been met by Todorov.

Chairman of the GLA Paul Whitehouse said: "I have sympathy for the workers who took the job in good faith, but none for Todorov. His actions have harmed the workers and also brought financial penalties on the farms that he supplied."

 

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