Gangmasters’ body to be given more teeth

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Formed after the Morcambe Bay cockle disaster, the GLA is set to get more teeth
Formed after the Morcambe Bay cockle disaster, the GLA is set to get more teeth

Related tags Gla chief executive Minimum wage

Government proposals to reform the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), as it steps up the fight against labour exploitation in the UK, have been welcomed by the enforcement body.

The proposals form part of the new Immigration Bill, which returned to the House of Lords for the Committee Stage last month, and also recommend creating a new role of director of labour market enforcement.

His job will be to set the strategic priorities for enforcement bodies including the Employment Agencies Standard Inspectorate, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ National Minimum Wage team and the GLA.

Tackle rogue businesses

The idea is to share intelligence between the director, the ‘intelligence hub’, labour market enforcement bodies and others. It would also lead to the creation of an enforcement regime, backed up by a criminal offence and custodial sentencing, which would allow repeat offenders and rogue businesses to be tackled.

As part of the proposals, the GLA would become the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority with stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy.

“As an organisation formed to protect vulnerable workers we welcome ​[the] announcement and see it as a significant and positive step forward in this fight,”​ said GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent.

Unscrupulous individuals

“Through our work across the past decade we have established a solid reputation – at home and overseas – for our work in safeguarding workers and identifying and tackling unscrupulous individuals who seek to profit by the exploitation of others.

“If agreed, these new proposals would give us the opportunity to build on those firm foundations by providing the GLA with additional powers, enabling us to focus more closely on the worst examples of labour abuse in the UK.”

The GLA was formed in 2005 in the wake of the Morecambe Bay cockle picking disaster in which 23 Chinese workers drowned.

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