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Morecambe Bay Tragedy

Morecambe Bay Tragedy

Five Years On and GLA Toughens its Stance.

The 5th anniversary of the Morecambe Bay Tragedy occurs this week.
On February 5th 2004, 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned through the behaviour of a ruthless and criminal gangmaster.
The cockle pickers were abandoned on the mud flats of Morecambe Bay as the tide rose at a rate said to be faster than a galloping horse‟. They had no protection and they had no escape. Two of the bodies have still not been recovered. The main defendant, Lin Liang Ren was convicted on 21 counts of manslaughter and sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment followed by deportation to China.
The GLA now has over two years experience of operations, and has already raised the standards of many gangmasters, but has decided to toughen up the sanctions and standards it will apply from April 2009. These include:

 Increasing the likelihood that a gangmaster who ill-treats workers will have his licence revoked immediately, so that he has to stop trading straight away.

 Disqualifying gangmasters for two years when they are considered to be not fit and proper to hold a licence or have their licence revoked more than once (two strikes and out).

 Widening investigations into the background and track record of those involved in the licensed business to include anyone who influences its management.

 Expanding the test of who is a fit and proper person to be a gangmaster to catch those who try to exercise control without being named on our licence. We have seen increasing numbers of rogues lurking in the shadows trying to manipulate licence businesses with an invisible hand. Often these rogues have been previously caught out by the GLA and had their own licence revoked.

Shellfish gangmasters now have a much more explicit set of standards to ensure that they know exactly what they must do. This will make enforcing these standards easier.
The GLA‟s approach to stamping out rogue and criminal gangmasters will be toughened as a result of these and other changes, which will take effect from 6 April 2009.


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