September 22 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Two March brothers, both directors of a £2m a year turn over contract labour company, have been stripped of their licences to operate by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.
The GLA announced today that Slender Contracting Ltd “had breached a number of licensing standards by falsifying payslips in order to under pay employees”.
The company was also found guilty by the GLA of “failing to provide workers with appropriate protective equipment and failing to agree terms and conditions of work”.
The company, which until October operated out of Longhill Road, March, was headed by brothers Martyn and Mark Slender.
Today’s actions by the GLA also focus on a second company, MAS Recruitment, also based in March, which was headed by Mark Slender.
It, too, has had its GLA licence revoked. A GLA spokesman said both brothers had failed critical “fit and proper person” tests.
Slender Contracting Ltd was one of the firms raided in the early hours of October 15 as part of Operation Endeavour, a 300 strong multi agency task force investigating exploitation of migrant workers.
The GLA spokesman said: “One of the properties searched by police officers and our officials was that of Slender Contracting and various items were recovered.”
The company’s licence was immediately suspended “to prevent any further exploitation of workers. Two days later another warrant was executed at MAS Recruitment in Steeple View, March, and its licence was also suspended pending further investigations.”
The spokesman added: “Both businesses have now had their licences revoked with immediate effect, preventing them from operating in the GLA’s regulated sector.
“Slender Contracting has ceased trading since the suspension was imposed.”
In its last published accounts for the year ending March 31, Slender had a turn over of £2.401m, up £113,000 on the previous year. It showed a gross profit of £369,000 and net profit of £147,000.
The GLA said that although MAS Recruitment held no contracts in the sector they covered “it is now prevented by law from supplying any labour in agriculture, horticulture, food processing and packaging or shellfish gathering”.
The deadline to challenge both revocation decisions has passed and the GLA said neither company had lodged an appeal.
More than 80 workers from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Estonia, who were thought to be subjected to exploitation, were removed from addresses in Fenland following the operation.