Extension of GLA remit needs to be done in controlled way says minister

There have been many calls to extend the Gangmasters Licensing Authority’s (GLA’s) remit to other sectors, but it has to be done in a controlled way, Karen Bradley MP, minister for modern slavery and organised crime, said this morning [2 March] at the GLA’s conference in Derby.

Mon, 2 Mar 2015 | By Sarah Marquet

There have been many calls to extend the Gangmasters Licensing Authority’s (GLA’s) remit to other sectors, but it has to be done in a controlled way, Karen Bradley MP, minister for modern slavery and organised crime, said this morning [2 March] at the GLA’s conference in Derby.

She said the government had announced it would publically consult on the best way to use the GLA, which currently operates in the food, shell fish gathering, horticulture, agriculture, process and packaging sectors, “but we need to be clear about the most effective changes and make sure that they are based on the best evidence available”.
 
Speaking to Recruiter at the event, which was attended by around 220 people, she said sectors people had especially expressed concern about were care, construction and hospitality, but before the GLA’s remit can be extended it needed to know how gangmasters operated in those sectors.

She said gangmasters in the construction sector, for example, were more likely to involve their workers in illegal activities such as drug running and extortion.

In the hospitality sector, for example, gangmasters could be hard to trace as they could “get the workers away” if there was any sign of trouble.

Bradley said: “I was down in Cornwall last summer and they’ve got three, four, five buses coming in a day from some parts of Eastern Europe for people to work in the hospitality industry over the summer season and the gangmaster can get them back on a bus that afternoon if there’s any sort of problem.”

That was why public consultation was necessary, otherwise the government could “take a very small organisation and spread it very thinly across those [new] sectors and… end up losing all the knowledge and expertise we have and also we need to do what’s right in those sectors”.

She did not know any dates around the consultation.

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