"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gangmaster Licensing Authority should have it's role extended to cover care and cleaning

Paul Whitehouse who retired as Chief Constable on a hefty £50,000 pa pension one day ahead of being sacked, has been doing an excellent job as part time and well paid Chairman of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority.

He has made a determined blitz in "Operation Ajax" this last mnth in closing down rogue gangmasters and has been been making a parallel blitz on the media. See stories today on BBC - uncluding a very forceful interview on "Farming Today" and headline news item on the BBC4 "Today" programme, PA , Sky News , More> RSA News , NE Journal and Gazette , Times with a story on August 17th "'Squalor' of David Leslie Fruits workers - Scottish supplier to Sainsbury's and Tesco probed over accommodation etc.,

Whilst all of this is to broadcast the succcess of the Agency, and to warn off the rogue operators, Paul Whitehouse wants to expand his fiefdom to cover gangmasters and labour only suppliers in care and cleaning.

He has powerful allies - TUC general secretary Brendan Barber is quoted on Sky News ; "An opportunity has been missed to address the flaws which keep two million workers in conditions which shame a modern economy."

"It is disappointing that ministers are not prepared to extend the coverage of the Gangmasters' Licensing Authority to other vulnerable sectors such as construction, care and hospitality."

"Nor has the Government been prepared to examine the legal loophole that deprives many workers from gaining the legal status of an employee."

For example ; The David Leslie fruit farms were being investigated because there were , "allegations of mistreatment relating to the working and housing conditions of 251 Bulgarians who had been sent to work at David Leslie’s Scones of Lethendy berry farm in Perthshire".

This swoop involved co-ordinating the work of the GLA inspectors with the UK Border Agency, the UK Human Trafficking Centre, the Health and Safety Executive, Tayside Police and Perth and Kinross Council.

In his BBC Farming Today interview (Listen again here and more info) Paul Whitehouse tells Melanie Abbott that the GLA need more than the curent 30 inspectors they have, to cover England , Wales, SCotland and Northern Ireland. He also claims the whole operation is more than self financing as HMRC revenues have risen , with income Tax, NI, and VAT.

He also claims the Low Pay Unit have seen the effects of the success of the GLA.

Meanwhile the Government, under pressure from the CBI, has set it's face firmly against expanding the role of the GLA and Building quotes a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR): “There are no plans at the moment to review the GLA. We don't think extending its remit to the construction industry is the best way forward."

At the TUC conference at Brighton last autumn a unanimous motion was passed in support of the extension of the work of GLA at the conference.

Shelter on their website says “Government has missed the opportunity to expand the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, which plays a valuable role in protecting workers in the agricultural and food-processing industries. “Shelter is calling for the GLA to extend their remit to other sectors such as construction, cleaning and hospitality in order to help lift all workers out of bad housing.”

Jack Dromey Deputy General Secretary of Unite ***says..."...law needs to be strengthened. That is why we will continue to press for the extension of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to cover Construction. The GLA has raised standards in agriculture and fisheries, putting rogue employers out of business. But gangmasters are moving into Construction and the GLA should follow them."

Meanwhile the Government are busy setting up a new Fair Employment Enforcement Board to co-ordinate the work of government agencies covering minimum wage, health and safety, employment agencies and gangmasters. They have also allocated £6million for a campaign to raise awareness of employment rights and how to enforce them - twice the annual cost of the GLA alone.

The recommendations form part of the final report by the Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum which was set up in June last year . Employment relations minister, Pat McFadden, who chaired this Forum, said last month which reported on August 5th : "This is in the interests of workers themselves and, as was made clear by business representatives on the forum, it is in the interests of the reputable businesses who treat their workers fairly and obey the law." The Forum report is available here (pdf)

On Page 46 in the Conclusions they report "There has been extensive discussion in the Forum, though no agreement, on whether the Gangmaster Licensing Authority’s licensing regime
should be extended to employment agencies operating in sectors other than agriculture and food processing."

The bottom line is that Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EASI) , who have signally failed to do the job so far, are to have their Inspectorate doubled by June 2008 (the report came out on August 4th) and a telephone contact number publicised.... oh yes ... the new talking shop Fair Employment Enforcement Board chaired by the Employment relations minister, Pat McFadden will (eventually) see the light of day.

It is with reluctance, and with a heavy heart that we recommend yet further intrusion of the State - but the GLA have shown themselves to have acted to improved working conditions, wages , and Health and Safety for the lowest paid workers in society .. it is something you might imagine a Socialist Government might want to extend.

*** Jack Dromey (apart from missing the millions paid for honours (including Lord Patel's) into Labour Party Coffers - he first "read about it in the papers" Ditto Abrahams Gate) is also married to the fragrant and delicious Harriet Harman QC, MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party , Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and Equality- and sent their son to a selective grammar school in Bromley

If you visit this busy lady's website today you will find that on the 18th of the month she was busy celebrating 10 years of the introduction of the Minimum Wage Act.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are some skeletons in Ms Harman's cupboard...
(note the involvement of Lenny Harper, ex-Jersey investigative cop (now retired)....

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish