Agency's licence revoked over illegal farm workers

Migrant workers picking leeks The Gangmasters Licensing Authority has the power to revoke a licence for one critical breach of its rules. United Recruitment Services had seven

Related Stories

A firm that supplied illegal workers to pick crops has had its licence revoked following an appeal.

Derby-based United Recruitment Services supplied labour to farms in Lincolnshire.

An inspection by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) uncovered 11 breaches of licensing standards.

They included using workers with fake passports and providing no proof of paying the National Minimum Wage, or holiday pay.

A breach of one critical licensing standard is sufficient for the GLA to revoke a licence. United Recruitment Services failed seven critical and four non-critical standards.

The firm's licence was first revoked in February but an appeal by managing director Chander Shekhar Guru allowed the business to continue trading until the case was heard.

Employment judge Peter Britton has now upheld the GLA's findings.

'Wholesale illegal immigrants'

The licensing authority first visited the business at the end of October 2011 and found serious irregularities.

Judge Britton said: "Of the 79 workers on the books at the time, only 15 were legally allowed to be working. A great many of them were illegal immigrants."

He added that there were numerous entries in the files of employees, all from the Punjab region of India, who had been found to be working on "forged passports".

"To quote Oscar Wilde - one might be unfortunate, two might be very unfortunate but the sheer number in this case cannot be coincidental," he said.

"What it shows is that United Recruitment Services was in the business of employing illegal immigrants wholesale."

The hearing, which concluded in Nottingham on Friday, was told GLA inspectors had discovered numerous serious failings in the operation of the business that Mr Guru ran from his home address, in Glencroft Drive, Stenson Fields.

As well as employing illegal workers, the company was found to be using two sets of timesheets and payslips, casting doubt on what tax payments were being made.

Mr Guru was unable to provide any satisfactory explanation to clarify issues identified by the GLA.

The judge dismissed his evidence as "evasive".

The ban will begin on 13 December, from which time Mr Guru will not be allowed to provide workers for agriculture, horticulture, food processing, packaging or shellfish gathering.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Derby

Weather

Derby

10 °C 7 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    08:05: Sunny later Charlie Slater BBC Weather

    It's a cloudy and overcast start to the day, but the clouds should thin and break as we make our way to this afternoon allowing for some brighter weather and sunny spells. Highs of 11C (52F).

    Charlie Slater
     
  2.  
    08:00: It's Friday Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    Hi everyone. I'll be bringing you all of today's news, sport, travel and weather for Derbyshire and East Staffordshire.

    I love featuring your comments and photos, so email derby.locallive@bbc.co.uk or tweet us @bbcderby at any time.

     

Features

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.