Gangmaster fined for ‘acting above the law’

A Somerset gangmaster has been fined £4,000 for supplying workers to a fish processor without a licence

A Somerset gangmaster who ignored repeated warnings and acted “above the law” has been ordered to pay more than £4,000, after admitting to supplying workers to a fish processing plant without the necessary gangmaster licence.

Yeovil Magistrates Court heard how Alison Andrews of Taunton, director of ASAP Recruitment, had supplied workers to a fish factory in Devon in the early months of 2015 without a license.

Andrews had been given formal warnings by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) –formerly the Gangmasters Licensing Authority – on three previous occasions.

She pleaded guilty to an offence of unlicensed labour supply under the Gangmasters Licensing Act (GLA). Andrews was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100, as well as an £85 contribution towards costs.

Pleaded guilty for an identical offence

She also pleaded guilty for an identical offence by her business. ASAP Recruitment received an additional fine of £3,000 plus a £120 Victim Surcharge and a further contribution of £85 towards costs for the offence.

The court was told that the company director was fully aware of the requirement to hold a GLAA licence to supply labour for temporary processing roles in the UK fresh produce sector.

GLAA head of operations Ian Waterfield said: “This was a case of a businesswoman who persisted in seeking out and accepting contracts to supply workers into our regulated sector in the full knowledge that what she was doing was wrong.

‘As if she were above the law’

“Repeated warnings that her activity was illegal were ignored, as if she were above the law and, as a result of her actions, she now has significant fines to pay and criminal convictions against both her and her company’s names.”

Andrews’ former company ASAP Staff SW in Devon had its GLA licence revoked in 2009. A subsequent application for a licence that Andrews had submitted was refused by the authority.

Meanwhile, the GLAA faced legal action in March, after it was accused of “negligence” and “breaching the Human Rights Act” by a lawyer representing six Lithuanian men who worked for a chicken-catching company – described by the authority as the “worst UK gangmaster ever”.

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