Recruiters back gangmaster crackdown

RECRUITMENT firms in the East of England have given their backing to a campaign aimed at rooting out rogue gangmasters and labour providers.The Gangmasters Licensing Authority launched its drive to encourage migrant workers to report illegal or exploitative activities on Monday .

RECRUITMENT firms in the East of England have given their backing to a campaign aimed at rooting out rogue gangmasters and labour providers.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority launched its drive to encourage migrant workers to report illegal or exploitative activities on Monday .

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation's east of England region yesterday gave its support to the campaign.

“We fully back the GLA's initiative to expose rogue gangmasters and make workers fully aware of their rights,” said Marcia Roberts, the REC's deputy chief executive and member of the GLA board.


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“Migrant workers make a vital contribution to the UK labour market and in regions such as the East of England. So cases of worker exploitation must be addressed through effective enforcement of the GLA regulations.”

Their radio campaign was an “innovative way” to reach potentially vulnerable workers, she said.

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As well as backing the GLA campaign, the REC is currently working with the DTI and government representatives from the new EU member states to ensure that vulnerable workers in other sectors not covered by the GLA are also protected.

All recruitment agencies and employment businesses in the UK must comply with the Employment Agency Act regulations which were reviewed in 2004.

The Gangmaster Licensing Act regulations came into force this year, but only cover labour providers in agriculture and related processing and packaging sectors.

Paul Finch, the REC's east of England regional director said it was a problem that must be tackled.

“Labour providers in most sectors are not covered by any licensing arrangements, which is why it is important to highlight other means of identifying genuine law-abiding agencies such as adherence to industry codes of practice and membership of trade bodies.

“The activities of outlaw agencies and labour providers in all sectors must be addressed,” he said.

The REC represents more than 8,000 recruitment agencies and 5,500 recruitment consultants across the UK, or 714 corporate and 473 individual members in the east of England. All its members must abide by a code of professional practice.

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