It has been given 28 days from the date of hearing (October 8 to 10) to wind up the business, with any trading after this date considered a criminal offence.
One of the UK’s biggest chicken catching businesses has been forced to close within weeks of having its licence revoked.
Victor Foster Poultry Services (VFPS) obtained its Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) licence in 2006 to supply farm workers to catch chickens which were then sent for processing and vaccination.
But the Northern Ireland-based company, which also operates in England, was found guilty of breaching the GLAA’s licensing standards in three critical worker areas.
It was given 28 days from the date of hearing (October 8 to 10) to wind up the business, with any trading after this date considered a criminal offence.
The move followed investigations by the GLAA which found on one occasion a worker was sent back to work a 19-hour shift less than six hours after finishing an 18-hour shift.
The VFPS also failed to show that its workers were being accurately paid and taking adequate rests during their shifts. Workers told inspectors they did not receive copies of their contracts.
Despite an appeal from the company following claims it had rectified the issues since the inspection, Judge Peter Britton agreed with the GLAA that compliance with the licensing standards must be demonstrated at the time of inspection – not at a later date.
The GLAA said the VFPS was unwilling to comply with its standards and had shown a ‘wholesale disregard’ for the licensing scheme.
GLAA head of licensing Charlotte Woodliffe said: “This is a tremendous result for our hard-working licensing and compliance teams.
“We are pleased that the judge upheld our original decision and agreed with our assessment that there were several key breaches of our licensing standards.
“We hope this result sends a strong message to businesses who are acting unlawfully within the sectors regulated by the GLAA.
“We will find out if you are breaching the standards and we will not hesitate to put you out of business when you are caught.”