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Recession no excuse to mistreat vulnerable workers


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Issued Date: 17 Mar 2009

Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden today warned employment agencies against using the recession as an excuse to mistreat vulnerable workers.

During a visit to hospitality recruitment specialists Admiral Group, Pat McFadden said:

"The vast majority of agencies are working very hard to treat people fairly. I have seen at first hand today an agency that treats its clients and candidates with respect.

"But there are some employment agencies who are short changing their staff and not playing by the rules. We will not allow rogue employers to use the downturn as an excuse to cut corners and deprive staff of their rights at work - or undercut other businesses that are doing the right thing. The recession is no excuse to mistreat vulnerable workers."

While visiting Admiral in London's West End, Mr McFadden met with Admiral staff and their team of agency workers. He also met Admiral staff working "on-location" at a nearby restaurant.

Pat McFadden said:

"Our call for fairness is backed up by action. Our 1.25million campaign to help agency workers know their rights and help employers know their responsibilities is already paying dividends. The number of calls to the Employment Agency standards helpline has tripled in recent weeks and the website has had 57,000 hits since the launch of the campaign."

"Over recent months, we have doubled the number of Employment Agency Standards inspectors and extended their powers so that they can crack down on rule-breakers. The team has had some good successes, but we recognise that there is still more to do."

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said:

"As the representative body for the whole recruitment industry, the REC is delighted that the Minister is getting a first hand view of the critical service that the vast majority of legitimate and law-abiding agencies such as Admiral provide for workers and businesses on a daily basis. The REC has led the calls for greater enforcement from Government for many years and welcomes the aims of addressing rogue businesses that exploit workers and undercut agencies that are adhering to industry Codes of Practice and regulation."

Paula Rogers, founder and Managing Director of Admiral Group said:

"Agencies work in a very competitive environment, especially in the current climate. Admiral competes for the very best talent. We have always placed an emphasis on fair pay and conditions as an important part of our offer. We have a much better chance of keeping the best teams if they are valued and respected.

"This campaign is an excellent step forward in ensuring that temporary workers are not exploited and that non legitimate businesses are exposed in this difficult climate."

Heath Potgieter, a waiter with Admiral since August 2007 said:

"The flexibility of agency work suits me best. I'm very happy with Admiral, but this campaign recognizes that agency workers play an equally important role as long term employees. This campaign will further help ensure everyone is treated fairly and with respect as an agency worker."

Information on agency workers' rights can be accessed via the DirectGov website, and any workers who think they are not getting a fair deal should contact the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate on 0845 955 5105. contains further information on how recruiters can ensure compliance with the law.


1. The Government's 'Know Your Rights' campaign launched on 9 February, with over 1.25million being used to ensure that agency workers know their rights. It was set up following the recommendations from the Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum. The forum brings together front line unions, workplace enforcement agencies, business groups and advice bodies to look at evidence about the nature and extent of abuse of workplace rights.

2. Business Minister Pat McFadden has written to around 13,000 employment agencies across the UK.

3. DirectGov is the Government's public services web portal. For specific information on agency workers, see kers

4. 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.

5. is a free business advice and support service, available online and through local advisers. For specific information for employment agencies, please see http://www.businesslink

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 2009-03-18 14:15:19 in Employee Articles

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