John Spellar MP has backed the Labour campaign calling on the Government to extend the remit of the GLA and to make serious exploitation an offence to ensure that the residents of Sandwell who work in those sectors aren’t exploited, that they receive the minimum wage so local people can’t be undercut and to ensure everyone Sandwell is treated fairly at work.

The Gangmasters Licencing Authority was created after the Morecambe Bay cockle pickers disaster in 2004. Their role is to ensure businesses in the industries their remit covers treat their staff fairly by respecting employment law, pay the minimum wage and do not exploit their workers.  John Spellar MP backed a Labour amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill which would give the Home Secretary the power to extend the GLA’s remit to other sectors where there is substantial evidence abuse is taking place in order to stamp it out, a power the Conservative led coalition has so far refused to give.

John Spellar MP also voted for a historic measure which would for the first time ever make serious exploitation an offence – bridging a gap in the law that is allowing brutal gangmasters and slave drivers to get away with it, often exploiting migrants, particularly from Europe, in horrendous circumstances to provide a cheaper workforce than is available domestically.

John Spellar MP said:

“The GLA have done important work in the past ten years but there are still too many stories of people in Sandwell being exploited by unscrupulous employers, so I will be support this campaign to get people here the protection and support they need.

We need an economy that works for everyone, and businesses need a level playing field rather than being undercut by unscrupulous employers exploiting people.  So I hope the Government will finally listen and back this campaign.”

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