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."


Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Tractors: market roundup

Tractors: market roundup

Manufacturers are working to provide solutions to many challenges. Sally Drury looks at their newest models.

What does the Agriculture Bill mean for growers?

What does the Agriculture Bill mean for growers?

The publication of the Agriculture Bill this week formally kick-starts the Government's plans to implement a "green Brexit" for farming, the area of the economy most impacted by the UK's withdrawal from the EU from next March.

How might the Government's no-deal Brexit plans affect growers?

How might the Government's no-deal Brexit plans affect growers?

The Government maintains that a no-deal Brexit "remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome". But it has begun publishing a series of "technical notices" intended to explain the consequences for all parts of the economy should no deal be agreed with the EU by March next year.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive RANKING of UK Fruit Producers by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon