Exploitative gangmasters lose licences

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The Independent Online

Three gangmasters have had their licences revoked after an investigation into the treatment of Polish and Lithuanian gang labour used to pick flowers, it was announced today.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority said it found overcrowded accommodation and workers living in caravans, paid less than £10 a day, in Cornwall and Scotland.

The authority said it uncovered a "tangled web of exploitation" where one gangmaster supplied the workers and another arranged accommodation and transport.

Workers were paid £50 a week, with the rest of their wages held back until their contract had finished.

The licences of AAW Contract Services, JDSS and EU Labour were revoked, the authority announced.

GLA chairman Paul Whitehouse said: "Workers are not a commodity and should not be treated like one. The law is in place to protect them and we will enforce it."

The authority said workers were not supplied with pay slips, workers who left employment were not paid what they owed and 22 out of 25 caravans used as accommodation had more than the four occupants allowed.