Yorkshire Gangmaster Convicted

25 May 2010

Jagjit Singh who at the time of the offence was running the gangmaster business Saphire Trading Ltd, was sentenced to complete 200 hours of unpaid work as part of a twelve month Community Order and ordered to pay costs of £10,902.59 within 6 weeks.

While under investigation by the GLA, Mr Singh initially denied that he provided accommodation to his workers. However he eventually provided a redacted list of properties and after a full list was demanded the officer identified 348 Portswood Road, Southampton and established that Mr Singh was housing Polish workers in a property deemed too dangerous for human habitation.

In addition to the obstruction, the GLA investigation also uncovered persistent and systematic exploitation of vulnerable workers and revoked the licence shortly after the investigation was complete.

Martin Smith GMB National Organiser said “This conviction of a gangmaster in court for obstructing the enforcement of employment laws enacted by Parliament is welcome. The Gangmaster Licensing Authority has done a good job in protecting vulnerable workers. This case shows that in doing this it has had to be firm. There are too many employers who thing nothing of lying and cheating and exploiting their workers. GMB campaigned for the setting up of the GLA. We support its operations and call on the politicians soon to seek election to publicly back it.”

Paul Whitehouse, Chairman of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority said “Mr Singh made blatant attempts to mislead the GLA and hide the exploitation of his workers. He has not only lost his licence but faces significant costs and will have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work as a punishment. My officers quite rightly do not take the gangmasters word at face value. They always investigate thoroughly and are used to uncovering the lies and deceptions that are regularly used to hide the worst cases of exploitation.”