Cornish gangmaster shut down for worker exploitation

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

The GLAA licensing scheme exists to protect vulnerable workers
The GLAA licensing scheme exists to protect vulnerable workers
A Cornish gangmaster, who provided workers to both a vegetable producer and seafood processing factory, has been shut down by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

Neringa Butkeviciute, a 29-year-old businesswoman from Camborne, operated her business DNK Recruitment out of the Bosparva Caravan Park in Leedstown, Hayle. There, she provided workers to harvest and process crops at a nearby vegetable producer as well as a seafood processing factory in the south west.

After a report was made to the GLAA an inspection was carried out to check on how the licence holder was running her business.

The company failed eight of the authority’s Licensing Standards – four of them ‘critical’ – racking up 144 penalty points. A licence can be revoked after the discovery of one critical failure, which carries 30 points.

Exploited

The GLAA said she systematically exploited her workers through skimming off their pay, sending them to work double shifts with insufficient breaks and requiring them to live in unhygienic and unsafe caravans.

She also charged for accommodation in caravans that were deemed both unsanitary and unsafe. Issues were found with the caravans being used including: leaking waste pipes; broken doors and windows; mould; a leaking shower that had caused the floor in one van to collapse; general overcrowding; defective smoke detectors and electric heaters placed close to bedding. Human waste was even discovered leaking from sewage pipes under one caravan.

“Having read through the evidence we uncovered in this case it was clear that the profits of the company appeared to be the only concern for DNK Recruitment,”​ said GLAA’s head of licensing Charlotte Woodliffe.

‘No concern’

“No care or concern was shown about whether the workers were being treated fairly, receiving the correct amounts of time off and wages or were housed in safe and sanitary living accommodation.

“The GLAA licensing scheme exists to protect vulnerable workers. In cases like this, where the bottom line appears to be the only thing that matters at the cost of the health and safety of its employees then we have no hesitation in taking away a gangmaster’s licence.”

DNK has not appealed the revocation decision and is understood to have ceased trading and vacated the caravan park in Hayle. The workers have found alternative employment.

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1 comment

We should be ashamed - no real deterrent to stop slavery

Posted by Martin Parrack,

Reading the recent article on slavery in Cornwall the fines against the operator were totally disgusting and no way a deterrent to discourage the offence.

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