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Government investigates rogue recruiters

Twelve employment agencies in Plymouth are in the firing line following a clamp down on illegal practices.
Following reports of improper activity in agencies supplying staff including industrial and construction workers, the Employment Agency Standards team found 12 agencies in Plymouth were breaking employment regulations and between them had clocked up 68 infringements of the law.

The worst practices identified included:

- failing to inform workers sufficiently about the type work they would be doing
- agencies failing to confirm the identities of staff they were planning to supply to employers
-risking workers safety by failing to ensure their awareness of health and safety issues relevant to their assignments.

The operation was carried out by BERR's Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. The inspectorate made its unannounced visits in the week beginning November 24, inspecting 18 agencies in total.

Employment minister Pat McFadden said: 'There should be no hiding place for employment agencies that exploit workers and flout the law. 'The government has doubled the number of Employment Agency Standards inspectors so that they can get out on the ground in places like Plymouth and target the rule-breakers.'

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. For legal reasons, Department for Business cannot name the agencies warned, unless they are prosecuted or prohibited.
4 December 2008

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