March 12 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 10, 2014
An MP and police inspector have welcomed a move to strip two companies of their licences to operate as gangmasters.
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority announced on Wednesday that Slender Contracting Ltd, of March, “had breached a number of licensing standards by falsifying payslips in order to underpay employees”.
The company was also found guilty by the GLA of “failing to provide workers with appropriate protective equipment and failing to agree terms and conditions of work”.
Brothers Martyn and Mark Slender headed the company.
A second company, MAS Recruitment, also based in March, which was headed by Mark Slender, also had its licence revoked.
Both brothers also failed critical “fit and proper person” tests.
The move has been welcomed by NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay and Fenland police inspector Robin Sissons.
Mr Barclay said: “It’s great news for our local communities that two gangmaster agencies who were failing to protect migrant workers have been shut down and had their licenses permanently revoked.
“Gangmasters who operate irresponsibly and the rogue landlords who house workers in overcrowded properties have a major knock-on effect on agricultural communities like the Fens.
“This action is a great example of effective enforcement of regulations governing gangmasters and much credit is due to Cambridgeshire police for their ongoing efforts to tackle this issue.
“The progress made by the multi-agency approach of Operation Endeavour, which brings together police and local authorities, is clearly reaping benefits.
“However more remains to be done to ensure that gangmasters and rogue landlords are operating within the rules and have fewer opportunities to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
Insp Sissons added: “I am just pleased that the hard work of my officers has made a difference and there is no doubt we have protected people from exploitation. However, this is just the beginning.
“As our knowledge of their practices increases then so will our ability to identify other offenders and we will bring them to justice.”
Slender Contracting Ltd was one of the firms raided in the early hours of October 15 last year as part of Operation Endeavour, a 300-strong multi-agency task force investigating exploitation of migrant workers.