Gangmasters Licensing Authority

Workers employed by a gangmaster or labour provider to gather, process or package fresh produce are protected by The Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004. The licensing conditions include provisions concerning accommodation.

This content applies to Scotland

Definition of gangmaster

A gangmaster (also known as a labour provider) is an individual or business who supplies labour to the agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging businesses, or who uses labour to provide a service for harvesting, gathering, processing or packaging agricultural produce or shellfish.[1]

Gangmaster licensing conditions

Gangmasters must have a licence from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) [2] and must comply with the conditions of that licence. [3] The conditions state that any accommodation provided for a worker must be suitable for him/her, and that details of the accommodation must be provided to the worker, including the terms on which it is offered and any cost. [4]

Licensing standards for accommodation

Further details about the conditions are available in the Licensing Standards issued by the GLA. Licensing Standard 4 deals with workers' accommodation and states that any accommodation must:

  • be safe

  • have a current gas safety certificate

  • have facilities for water, power, heating, bedding and sanitation

  • have any electrical equipment supplied properly maintained

  • not be overcrowded

  • meet the repairing standard

  • meet HMO standards.

In addition, the employer or employer's agent must be registered on the Scottish Government's landlord register. Rent should also be reasonable, reflecting market rents in the area.

Workers must be given the option of finding their own accommodation. [5] Accepting a provision of accommodation must not be a condition of their employment.

Enforcement action

If a worker believes his/her employer may be breaking the terms of their licence, s/he can call the GLA on 0845 602 5020 (lines are open 9am–5pm) or email Workers can make a complaint anonymously if they prefer.

The GLA has powers to suspend or revoke the gangmaster's licence. [6] If a gangmaster's licence is revoked, they will no longer be able to trade in sectors regulated by the GLA.

Further information

More information is available from the GLA.

Last updated: 29 December 2014


  • [1]

    s.3 and s.4 Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004. A list of exceptions is laid out in the Gangmasters Licensing (Exclusion) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/658.

  • [2]

    s.6(1) Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004

  • [3]

    rule 4(2) Gangmasters (Licensing Conditions) Rules 2009 SI 2009/307

  • [4]

    Sch. 1 para.21(2)(a) Gangmasters (Licensing Conditions) Rules 2009 SI 2009/307

  • [5]

    Sch. 1 para. 8(2) The Gangmasters (Licensing Conditions) Rules 2009 SI 2009/307

  • [6]

    s.9 Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004