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Government cracks down on rogue employers

The government has announced plans to crack down on employers who exploit vulnerable workers with poor pay and conditions. The strategy includes a single telephone helpline to the government’s enforcement agencies, and a six million pound employment rights awareness campaign.

The implementation of the new strategy will be overseen by a new Fair Employment Enforcement Board. The body will help coordinate the work of the governments various enforcement bodies to fulfill the action plan. The new Board will be chaired by the Employment Relations Minister and will include representatives from business and trade unions, as well as the enforcement agencies.

The new strategy also includes a whole host of measures including the following
 
*Strengthening the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate. The number of inspectors is to be doubled by the end of July.

* Changing legislation to allow HMRC, EAS and others to share information allowing for more joined-up action on investigations.

* Stronger penalties for agency offences and increasing the investigative powers of the Inspectorate. 

Launching the measures, Employment Relations Minister and Forum Chair, Pat McFadden said:

"Compared to a decade ago there are three million more people in work in Britain and they all enjoy more employment rights than they would have in the past. Important minimum standards on wages, paid leave, maternity leave and conditions have been put in place.

However, as the Forum found, there are still dark corners of the labour market where rogue employers seek to mistreat their workers and more needs to be done to safeguard people's rights.
"

While expressing support for the government’s progress, the TUC’s Brendan Barber was disappointed that proposals did not include extending the coverage of the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority to the construction, care and hospitality industries.

Responding to the announcement he said:

“It is disappointing that ministers are not prepared to extend the coverage of the Gangmasters' Licensing Authority (GLA) to cover other vulnerable sectors such as construction, care and hospitality. The GLA is cleaning up the agriculture and food sectors it covers, and good employers in those sectors have welcomed the assurance that they will not be undercut by the rogue agencies and gangmasters. “

The proposals have followed a number of policy developments by the Government to protect vulnerable workers.  This includes giving agency workers a right to withdraw from pay deductions for transport or accommodation and an agreement to implement laws giving agency workers equal treatment with permanent colleagues after 12 weeks in a job.

Ends

posted by

Asif Yusuf
Publisher

 

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