Section 1


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Labour inspection

This section establishes the function and remit of the GLA and provides it with a wide-ranging power under sub-section 3 to do anything required to carry out its functions.


Importantly, Section 26 of the Act also provides that the Act will apply to a “worker” regardless of whether that person has a right to work in the UK.

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Section. 1. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority

(1) There shall be a body known as the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (in this Act referred to as “the Authority”).

(2) The functions of the Authority shall be–

(a) to carry out the functions relating to licensing that are conferred on it by this Act,

(b) to ensure the carrying out of such inspections as it considers necessary of persons holding licences under this Act,

(c) to keep under review generally the activities of persons acting as gangmasters,

(d) to supply information held by it to specified persons in accordance with the provisions of this Act,

(e) to keep under review the operation of this Act, and

(f) such other functions as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Authority may do anything that it considers is calculated to facilitate, or is incidental or conducive to, the carrying out of any of its functions.


Law / United Kingdom / Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004

This Act establishes the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (“GLA”) and gives it power to issue licences to agencies in relation to the supply or use of workers for agricultural work, gathering wild creatures or plants, harvesting from fish farms and certain food process and packaging operations. Licensed gangmasters in these sectors are required to adhere to certain labour law standards, including protections against forced labour.  Workers are still entitled to the protection of the Act even if they do not have leave to remain in the UK (s. 26(2).

The Act makes it an offence to supply workers in these sectors without a licence and gives the GLA power to investigate non-compliance with the labour law standards and the ability to revoke licences where appropriate.

The Act specifically applies to “bodies corporate” (s. 20), and so covers both corporate as well as individual gangmasters. The Act applies to work carried out in the UK or in the UK’s territorial sea, but importantly is not restricted to gangmasters who are situated in the UK (s. 5(3)), so in this respect has limited extraterritorial scope in that gangmasters cannot avoid the application of the Act simply by moving themselves or their company overseas.