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Rail workers win back wages

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Issued 19 June 2009

A recruitment agency consultant supplying rail workers was ordered to pay back a total of over £11,000 in withheld wages today at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. This follows a prosecution by the Government’s Employment Agency Standards inspectorate.

Christine Lewiss, from Trimmingham near Norwich, a director of several limited companies, was also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs after the prosecution for withholding pay from nine workers.

Lord Young, Minister for Employment Relations said:

“We are going full-steam ahead to tackle agencies like these that exploit vulnerable workers.

“This verdict sends a clear signal that we will take action to de-rail rogue recruiters in Norfolk, and across the country. The action taken here demonstrates the increased impact that the expanded inspectorate is having in tackling those who flout the law”.

In 2008 inspectors raised the warning signal to Ms Lewiss, reprimanding her for failing to pay workers, not issuing terms and conditions and failing to hold required information about employees. Despite this, Ms Lewiss continued to flout the laws and EAS pursued a prosecution.

Notes

  1. The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Inspectorate carries out inspections of agencies on the basis of perceived risk of non-compliance and investigates complaints about agency conduct.
  2. Agencies that break the law could face prosecution and, as of 6 April 2009, be subject to unlimited fines for the most serious offences. Rogue agencies could also be banned from operating for up to ten years.
  3. Guidance for agency workers can be found on http://www.direct.gov/agencyworkers. Guidance for employment agencies can be found at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/employingpeople.
  4. The inspectorate carries out regular targeted investigations. Recent investigations were carried out in the West Midlands, Manchester, Glasgow, London and Darlington. Sectors examined included construction, driving, entertainment, modelling and teaching.
  5. The defendant pleaded Guilty on 5.6.2009 to 9 charges of withholding wages from workers contrary to Regulation 12 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 and section 5(2) of the Employment Agencies Act 1973. 
  6. The nine offences were committed by two companies operated by Ms Lewiss which were trading as employment businesses, Rail Recruit UK Ltd and Rail Recruit UK Projects Ltd.  The 1973 Act extends criminal liability to directors where the offence was committed with their consent, connivance or neglect
  7. The loss to workers amounts to £11,187.
  8. Rail Recruit UK Ltd was compulsorily wound up on 5.11.2008 on the petition of a creditor.

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 2009-06-20 00:07:09 in Legal Articles

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