30 March 2006
Purchasers face up to a year in jail or a £5,000 fine if they use unlicensed gangmasters to provide workers, under new government proposals for the agriculture and food processing industries.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced this month that temporary labour suppliers in these sectors, or so-called "gangmasters", must be licensed or they too may face a penalty.
The rules clarify proposals made late last year (see News, 5 January). Jim Knight, Defra minister, said it is now "very clear what is legal and what is illegal".
From 1 December, it will be illegal to use an unlicensed gangmaster to provide temporary labour.
From that date fines and custodial sentences will be introduced.
And ignorance of the regulations will be no excuse as they apply to buyers who use a gangmaster and do not check they are licensed.