Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority officers interviewed a number of employees yesterday in connection with alleged worker exploitation in Blackpool hotels.
The investigators attended three properties on or close to the sea front accompanied by officers from Lancashire Police and fire service, Blackpool Borough Council and officers from HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service and National Minimum Wage team.
One man has been questioned so far in connection with potential National Minimum Wage offences and a possible breach of fire safety regulations. Enquiries are continuing.
The GLAA operates throughout the UK and is a Non-Departmental Public Body.
- It was formed in 2005 to protect vulnerable workers in the wake of the Morecambe Bay disaster when 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned on the sands.
- Under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act (2004), it is illegal to operate as, or enter into an agreement with, an unlicensed gangmaster.
- Under the Immigration Act 2016, the GLAA was granted an extended remit and additional powers to investigate all forms of labour abuse in England and Wales.
- The GLAA employs specialist investigators who are able to look into workers’ problems ranging from underpayment of wages through to forced labour offences, related human trafficking and other aspects of modern slavery.
- The authority continues to licence companies that supply labour (gangmasters) for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering as well as all associated processing and packaging.
- Its main strategic priorities are: preventing worker exploitation, protecting vulnerable people, pursuing those who exploit others for their work either financially, physically and/or through coercion and control.
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