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Government team roots out rogue recruiters

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23 Dec 2008 11:48

Rogue employment agencies that exploit workers are being rooted out by the Government's Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate

Among the most notable achievements of 2007/8, outlined in an annual report published today, were:

* Banning an agency owner in Stoke on Trent whose employee had fallen asleep at the wheel and killed a cyclist due to driving for excessive hours.

* Ensuring that an airport worker at Heathrow received over 1,000 that their agency had wrongly withheld

* Stopping a convicted rapist in Gloucestershire from running an agency supplying models

Employment Minister Pat McFadden said:

"The vast majority of employment agencies uphold the law. At a difficult time for all businesses, we certainly don't want to see them undercut by those who don't play by the rules.

"I'm pleased at the success of the inspectorate in cracking down on agencies that flout the law and protecting vulnerable workers, but there is still more to do. Now that the team has doubled in size and has extended investigative powers, I look forward to them ensuring the law is obeyed."

In the year 2007-08, the inspectorate:

* recovered over 26,000 of workers' wages that were illegally withheld

* received over 1,200 complaints of improper agency conduct, finding over 1,100 infringements of the law

* prosecuted two agencies for breaches of employment agency legislation

* prohibited five individuals from being involved in the running of an agency

The team's most recent activity focused on agencies that supply workers to the construction industry. Of 52 agencies inspected across the country, 40 were found to be breaking regulations, with a total number of 192 separate infringements. Most of these offences were relatively minor, however the worst practices identified included:

* failing to inform workers sufficiently about the type work they would be doing; and

* risking workers safety by failing to ensure their awareness of health and safety issues relevant to their assignments.

More details of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate's work are outlined in the Annual Report.

People can report employment agencies they suspect of breaking the law by contacting the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate on 0845 955 5105 or emailing eas@berr.gsi.gov.uk.

Notes

1. The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate is part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The Inspectorate carries out inspections of agencies on the basis of perceived risk of non-compliance and investigates complaints about agency conduct.

2. The Annual Report for 2007/8 will be available from 24 December 2008 via our website at http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/f ile49464.pdf

3. Agencies who break the law could face prosecution and fines of up to 5,000 per offence. Rogue agencies could also be banned from operating for up to ten years.

4. Investigations into the construction sector took place across the country in December 2008. Using locally sourced intelligence, together with information previously provided by unions working in the construction sector, 52 agencies were identified and inspected to establish compliance with the Employment Agencies Act 1976 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

5. For legal reasons, Department for Business cannot name the agencies warned, unless they are prosecuted or prohibited.


About the Author

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-12-23 13:55:05 in Business Articles

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