Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by P. C. Tinsley Ltd (V3)

  1.  P. C. Tinsley Ltd grows vegetables in S Lincolnshire. We employ casual workers at intervals throughout the year for weeding and harvesting vegetables. Our annual casual worker wage bill is £140,000. We use the SAWS scheme and Gangmasters. Without the latter labour providers our business would revert to one primarily growing Combinable Crops and employ less permanent employees.

  2.  Growers and reputable Gangmasters have been asking for Gangmaster Registration for 10 years. It is the only practical solution to the issue of disreputable labour providers. For reasons the Committee will understand the situation is even more urgent now because of political and social pressures.

  3.  It is not a practical option for Growers to check on each casual employee each day. The time pressures of modern vegetable production do not allow this. Legality of workers and taxation must be the responsibility of the worker provider. We have always paid a rate for the casual worker and then paid an extra percentage to cover Gangmaster costs, transport and tax and NI.

  4.  Gangmaster Registration and Licensing would make UK Horticulture a fairer and socially more responsible industry.

10 April 2003

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