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UK retailers protest new GLA approach
Jul '13
UK retailers have voiced strong concerns over plans announced by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) to apply a new “discretionary” approach on whether to conduct a site visit when inspecting certain types of businesses applying for a gangmasters licence.

The decision was voted through at the GLA Board meeting last week, despite a majority stakeholder vote against the proposal earlier on in the year in response to the GLA consultation.  Members of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), along with the Trade Unions Congress (TUC), Association of Labour Providers (ALP) and Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), were part of the group that made up the vote.

The proposal to move away from mandatory inspections was initially put forward by the GLA in response to the Government’s Red Tape Challenge.

It is based on an increased reliance on supporting evidence, information and intelligence to determine whether a site visit is required when deciding whether to refuse or to issue a licence.

Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision which could threaten the integrity and the credibility of the GLA and its licensing system. Retailers were among the supply chain representatives that recommended the establishment of the GLA in the first place.

“While retailers applaud the work of the GLA and have the utmost confidence in its hard working staff, we feel that the move towards discretionary inspection is premature and should not be implemented until the right tools and systems are in place to do so. We are especially worried about inclusion of new companies from other sectors and umbrella companies within the discretionary category, as this could lead to the exploitation and abuse of workers.

“In the absence of an effective GLA licensing system, we are left with voluntary measures, which would result in added bureaucracy and cost. The BRC will be meeting with members and the GLA to determine the best way forward.”

British Retail Consortium

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