Calls for extension of Gangmasters Act

Health and safety on building sites would improve dramatically if the

Gangmasters and Licensing Act was extended from food and agriculture

into the construction sector, unions have claimed.

As part of the UK's implementation of the European Agency Workers Directive, the Government is consulting on new rights for agency workers, which take effect once they have spent 12 weeks in a given post. But UCATT believes unregistered gangmasters will ignore the new rules.

Said general secretary, Alan Ritchie: "The biggest challenges in construction concern the casualised nature of the industry. By reducing casualisation through regulating gangmasters and employment agencies, conditions on sites would improve dramatically almost overnight."

UCATT's call has been given further weight by the Home Affairs Select Committee's report on human trafficking, published on 14 May, which said the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate should be given two years to reduce abuses of construction workers' rights. Otherwise, MPs suggested, the sector should come under the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

In response, deputy general-secretary of the Unite union, Jack Dromey, said: "The evidence of worker exploitation is piling high. Government can no longer ignore the calls to extend licensing and put in place a universal, transparent process for determining who is fit to supply labour in the UK."

Calls for extension of Gangmasters Act

Health and safety on building sites would improve dramatically if the

Gangmasters and Licensing Act was extended from food and agriculture

into the construction sector, unions have claimed.

As part of the UK's implementation of the European Agency Workers Directive, the Government is consulting on new rights for agency workers, which take effect once they have spent 12 weeks in a given post. But UCATT believes unregistered gangmasters will ignore the new rules.

Said general secretary, Alan Ritchie: "The biggest challenges in construction concern the casualised nature of the industry. By reducing casualisation through regulating gangmasters and employment agencies, conditions on sites would improve dramatically almost overnight."

UCATT's call has been given further weight by the Home Affairs Select Committee's report on human trafficking, published on 14 May, which said the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate should be given two years to reduce abuses of construction workers' rights. Otherwise, MPs suggested, the sector should come under the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

In response, deputy general-secretary of the Unite union, Jack Dromey, said: "The evidence of worker exploitation is piling high. Government can no longer ignore the calls to extend licensing and put in place a universal, transparent process for determining who is fit to supply labour in the UK."

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