WATCH OUT WHERE YOU GET YOUR TEMPS ­OR YOU COULD BE FINED £5,000!

The Government is cracking down on the exploitation of labour in the food manufacturing business with the introduction of stiff fines and prison sentences for bosses who break the law.

The Government is cracking down on the exploitation of labour in the food manufacturing industry with the introduction of stiff fines and prison sentences for bosses who break the law.

After the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, when 19 migrants drowned collecting cockles, the Government has stepped in and set up the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).

Companies who use an unlicensed labour provider for temporary staff could face a £5,000 fine and bosses could face prison sentences of up to 51 weeks.

The Gangmaster regulations apply to any firm operating in agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging. LMR, a national recruitment company that supplies short-term contract workers for the food industry is believed to be one of the first to hold a gangmaster licence. Richard Burton, chief executive officer of LMR said: "These regulations come into force in October, yet very few businesses in these industries seem aware of them.

"This is worrying because companies are breaking the law and the consequences for them can be extremely serious even leading to jail sentences."

Burton added that the gangmaster licence should bring piece of mind to employers in the food industries by providing health and safety guidelines,statutory benefits and verifying entitlement of temporary staff to work in the UK.

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