On February 5th 2004, 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned because they were illegally employed by a ruthless and criminal gangmaster. The cockle pickers were abandoned on the mud flats of Morecambe Bay as the tide rose at a rate said to be ‘faster than a galloping horse’.
They had no protection.
They had no escape.
Two bodies have never been recovered.
Lin Liang Ren the main man, was convicted on 21 counts of manslaughter and sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment followed by deportation to China.
His girlfriend Zhao Xiaoqing (2 yrs 9 months) and cousin Lin Muyong (4 yrs 9 months) were found guilty of the immigration offences.
Father and son both named as David Anthony Eden , from Prenton in Merseyside, who bought cockles from the work gang, were cleared of helping the workers break immigration law.
As a result the Gangmaster Licensing Authority was set up (brainchild of Jim Sheridan MP) , led by incompetent and probably corrupt ex Chief of Sussex police Paul Whitehouse, who resigned just before he was sacked by the corrupt and unpleasant Home Secretary David Blunkett has made a fine chairman.
The GLA are to be congratulated on having quietly, firmly and efficiently whipped the gangmasters into shape, the leading supermarkets into reluctant compliance and their suppliers into a sullen acceptance that mediaeval work practices have to stop.(Search site on GLA of many of their successes)
It is scandalous that their writ is not to be allowed by the Government to extend into catering and the building trades - a reluctance which is shared by the Unions expressing their renowned support for the international solidarity of the working class - so much in evidence in their wildcat strikes this week - fuelled by the saurian minded mantras of the man described as Prime Minister.
Just ponder how working standards, practices , pay and conditions have improved for workers in the food production industry in the UK.
Please also eschew any stupid purchases of flowers grown by slaves in conditions disallowed in the EU, usinfg illegal chemicals from which they are unprotected, of flowers for St Valentine's Day from Ethiopia.