An operation to curb the exploitation of workers in the agriculture and shellfish gathering industries has been deemed a success, after more than 20 employers had their licences revoked earlier this year.
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), set up in 2005 to clamp down on employers who failed to protect vulnerable workers, withdrew 22 gangmasters' licenses between 1 April and 22 August. Compared with the 33 licences that were revoked for the entire year between April 2007 and April 2008, the new figures suggest that a new operation launched in April, called Operation Ajax, has been successful in stamping down on worker exploitation and abuse.
Chairman of the GLA Paul Whitehouse said: "These figures show we meant what we said when we launched Operation Ajax to clamp down on those who are abusing the system and their workers. And make no mistake, we will continue this fight. We will not let up on those who think they can make money out of abusing the system and the lives of vulnerable workers."
In the UK today, 1,186 GLA licences are held by labour providers. Since the authority became operational in 2006, there has been a total of 70 revocations and 42 licence refusals.