Operation Ajax - Lincolnshire and Lancashire - GLA
Operation Ajax - Lincolnshire and Lancashire
A major two part operation to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation and root out rogue gangmasters took place last week across Lincolnshire and Lancashire. In total the GLA deployed 15 officers for four days across the counties.
During the first phase the gangmasters fared well when compared to recent operations elsewhere in the UK. In 16 surprise inspections the gangmasters involved were able to demonstrate that GLA requirements were being met.
The legitimate gangmasters welcomed the GLA enforcement operation. They want to see the end of the rogues who undercut their prices and damage the reputation of their industry. Nobody hates a rogue gangmaster as much as a legitimate one.
The second phase of the operation involved four field visits at different locations across Lincolnshire and here results were mixed. There were some encouraging results but in some instances we found that gangmasters still had not got the message. Some totally unacceptable practices were uncovered.
Workers left without supervision and transport in a field at 6am to pick produce until they were collected at 4pm
Workers paid well below minimum wage
No holiday pay or sick pay
No contracts spelling out terms and conditions
An untaxed van, with planks of wood and a mattress in the back used to transport workers
Investigations into the above allegations are continuing. Where appropriate we will pass the information on to the relevant government agencies.
Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the GLA, said:
Lincolnshire has had its problems with rogue gangmasters in the past, but the good gangmasters and the businesses that use them have shown that if we all work together we can not only protect the workers, we can also stop those who make profits illegally at the expense of their competitors.
Lancashire has experienced probably the most shocking case of gangmaster abuse at Morecambe Bay, but the good gangmasters and the businesses that use them have shown that if we all work together we can not only protect the workers, we can also stop those who make profits illegally at the expense of their competitors.
The results are very positive, but there is still work to be done to ensure vulnerable workers are not preyed upon by the unscrupulous characters that always seem to be lurking in the background.