One of the U.K.’s biggest chicken catching businesses will have to end its operations after having its Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) license revoked.

Victor Foster Poultry Services (VFPS) was granted a GLAA license in 2006 to supply workers to catch chickens to be transported for processing and vaccination. 

The company, which is based in Northern Ireland but also operates throughout the U.K., was found to have breached the GLAA’s licensing standards in three critical areas as well as not being fit and proper, according to a press release from the authority.

GLAA said it found that VFPS was unwilling to comply with the standards and had shown a wholesale disregard for the licensing scheme. VFPS failed to show the GLAA that its workers were being paid accurately and taking adequate rests during their shifts, according to the authority. Workers also told inspectors that they did not receive copies of their contracts.

Concerns were raised that the drivers transporting workers were working incredibly long shifts with insufficient rest periods. On one occasion, GLAA inspectors found that a worker completed an 18-hour shift and had under six hours as a break before he returned for another 19-hour shift.

VFPS appealed the GLAA’s decision to revoke its license, claiming that all issues found in an inspection had since been rectified.


However, a hearing held in Nottingham in October dismissed the appeal.

Judge Peter Britton supported the GLAA’s position that compliance with the licensing standards must be demonstrated at the time of inspection, not at a later date.

 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.”

VFPS was given 28 days from the decision to wind up the business before the license is revoked. Any trading after this date would be considered a criminal offense.