Two men, including one from Tameside, who ran a recruitment agency in the north-west of England have been fined for acting as unlicensed gangmasters.
Raja Mudassar Javed and Wayne Critchley supplied between 30-40 workers to a food factory in Greater Manchester between February and October 2017.
The pair, who managed Smart Way 2 Recruit Ltd, which was based in Ashton, were prosecuted following an investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).
The company is now in administration.
Javed, 31, of Ryecroft Street, Ashton, and Critchley, 59, of Branston Road, New Moston, Manchester, both pleaded guilty to acting as a gangmaster in contravention of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 when they appeared before Tameside Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 30 May.
Javed was fined £1,200 plus a victim surcharge of £100 while Critchley received a fine of £800 plus a victim surcharge of £85.
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “The flagrant and deliberate disregard both Javed and Critchley demonstrated for our licensing regime could potentially have put vulnerable workers at risk of exploitation.
“The Gangmasters (Licensing) Act was created 15 years ago to ensure workers were not exploited for monetary gain. We are determined as an organisation to continue to prosecute unscrupulous labour providers who operate outside of the regulations.”
Acting as a gangmaster without a GLAA licence is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed gangmasters. This offence carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine.
Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in Tameside, Oldham or Rochdale? Let us know by emailing email@example.com , calling us on 0161 621 6515 , tweeting us @rev962 or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.