Worker exploitation case decision due

Prosecutors are set to decide whether to bring charges following an investigation into the potential exploitation of Filipino workers on UK dairy farms.

A decision is due after a probe by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority into the possible illegal employment of farm workers.

Launched last year, the inquiry focused on farm staff supplied by Marden Management, a Wiltshire employment agency. The company supplied British and overseas agricultural workers, including some 60 Filipino migrant workers, to 30 dairy farms. The GLA probe found that Marden Management was not licensed as a labour provider.

It is a criminal offence to employ farm workers supplied by an unlicensed labour provider.

GLA officials passed their findings to the crown prosecutor within DEFRA, who must now decide whether to take legal action. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

At the time of the inquiry, Marden Management director Chris Blakeney said his company had made an honest mistake. He believed Marden did not need a licence because it supplied qualified and experienced dairy workers, rather than unskilled labourers.

“Our interpretation of the exclusion clauses when the GLA legislation was first introduced led us to believe that our business was exempt,” said Mr Blakeney.

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