Corby MP Andy Sawford welcomes party’s plans to toughen up on employment agencies

Andy Sawford (right) with Cllr Tom Beattie at the Corby Employment Agency Summit in April 2013

Andy Sawford (right) with Cllr Tom Beattie at the Corby Employment Agency Summit in April 2013

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Corby’s Labour MP has said plans to introduce tougher laws on employment agencies would make a big difference to the town.

Party leader Ed Miliband today (Monday, November 24) announced the party wanted to introduce greater regulation on employment agencies, including setting up a licensing scheme for so-called rogue agencies.

Labour also pledged to close a legal loophole allowing agencies to pay agency workers a lower rate than permanent staff, and to ban agencies recruiting exclusively from abroad.

Andy Sawford said: “Tackling unethical employers, employment agency rip-offs and the abusive use of Zero Hours Contracts is really important for many people in Corby.

“Cowboy agencies who fail to pay the minimum wage or make illegal deductions for transport, health and safety equipment or personal protection insurance have no place in this area.

“I have arranged for investigations into bad practice and HMRC have imposed fines on some local agencies. I am determined to see local workers paid and treated fairly and today’s announcement by Labour will make a big difference to achieving this in Corby.

“I would also ask people to get in touch with me if they have any concerns about how they’re being treated by their employers and I will look into it.”

Mr Sawford and Corby council leader Cllr Tom Beattie have already set up the Corby Employment Agency Code of Practice to improve how temporary workers are treated. Eleven agencies have so far signed up to the code.

Officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs carried out inspections in the town in 2013, finding examples of abuse including failure to pay the minimum wage and making illegal deductions for transport, health and safety equipment or personal protection insurance.

The investigations have led to penalty charges being imposed on 12 agencies operating in Corby and £120,000 is being paid back to workers in lost wages.

Mr Sawford has also called for the rogue agencies to be named and shamed publicly.