Gangmaster licences revoked after police raid

Two gangmasters have had their licences revoked after a major investigation into the exploitation of migrant workers.

The employment agencies had their licences suspended following raids by 300 police officers and officials who took part in Operation Endeavour last autumn in Cambridgeshire. Now the licences have been withdrawn altogether.

Police and officials from the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority recovered a number of items from premises occupied by Slender Contracting, Longhill Road, March.

The company’s licence was immediately suspended to prevent any further suspected exploitation of workers. The company has since stopped trading.

Two days later another warrant was executed at the premises of MAS Recruitment, Steeple View, March. Its licence was also suspended pending further inquiries.

Both businesses have now had their licences revoked with immediate effect, preventing them from operating in the GLA’s regulated sector.

Investigators discovered that Slender Contracting had breached a number of GLA licencing standards by falsifying payslips in order to underpay employees.

The company also failed to provide workers with appropriate protective equipment and to agree terms and conditions of work.

In revoking the company’s licence, it was also decided the person named as responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, Martyn Slender, had failed a critical “fit and proper person” test.

The licence of MAS Recruitment was suspended and revoked against a breach of the same “fit and proper” standard.

Named licence holder Mark Slender, brother of Martyn, was also a director of Slender Contracting and involved in its operations.

Slender Contracting has ceased trading since the suspension was imposed. MAS Recruitment held no contracts in the GLA sector at the time the warrant was executed.

It is now prevented by law from supplying any labour into agriculture, horticulture, food processing and packaging or shellfish gathering.

The deadline to challenge both revocation decisions has passed with neither company lodging an appeal.

Operation Endeavour uncovered more than 80 workers from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Estonia thought to be subjected to exploitation.

Many workers have since found alternative accommodation and alternative employment with licensed operators.

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