Gangmasters: Food & Drink

The ‘cockle pickers’ disaster in Morecambe Bay in February 2004 shocked the UK with the needless deaths of 23 Chinese migrants while picking cockles on the treacherous quicksands of Morecambe Bay. These quicksands claimed the life of our Managing Director’s great great great grandfather, whose family lived in the area for five centuries.

This outrage prompted legislation to regulate the employment and condition of workers in the food manufacturing and production industries, and became law as the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004.Now only licensed agents and agencies are entitled to recruit, place or employ workers in these industries. In addition, it is an obligation of employers to ensure that external labour is only sourced through registered Gangmasters.

The 2004 Act covers all businesses engaged in food and drink manufacturing and production, almost all aspects of farming and forestry and a number of other select areas. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority website www.gla.gov.uk provides information on the current law and the standards which registered Gangmasters must adhere to. It has an online search facility enabling any employer to register and check whether an agency it proposes to use is the holder of a license.

On 4th November 2008, Czech Match Ltd was granted a Gangmaster’s License and we were authorised to assist employers in the regulated industries. We had to renew our license on an annual basis. Having not placed workers in the regulated industries for some time we decided to delist and not renew our registration on 4th November 2016. If you are seeking workers or are a worker seeking a job in farming, forestry, food or drink manufacturing or production, especially in the meat processing industry then consult the register on the GLA website. Please do not ask us to assist you as we are no longer able to place workers in regulated activities.

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