Exploitation of foreign workers is a widespread phenomenon, believes Jeff Beck, of the GMB, the union for engineering construction workers.
Beck says exploitation is a widespread problem not just in the construction industry, but “in many industries where these people are coming into the UK to work and being totally exploited by unscrupulous employers.”
The assertion came as Beck said 14 Polish workers may not get compensation money after all, as their employer has left the UK. Involved in construction work in south Wales, they won more than £250,000 in compensation.
They were not paid the right amounts for overtime, a day of lodging allowance per week was deducted and they did not receive leave payments for as many as seven months
The assertion comes at a time when the UK Border Agency is insisting that the Gangmaters Licencing Act is in place to protect workers from exploitation; and it will make every possible effort to retrieve the proceeds of immigration crime.
`Gangmasters licences are designed to protect agricultural workers and were introduced in 2004 as part of the Gangmasters Licensing Act.
Steve Lamb, UK Border Agency regional director, recently said: ‘The Gangmaters Licencing Act was put in place to protect workers from exploitation, and to operate outside of the act represents a serious offence….
‘We have dedicated crime teams who work to stamp out these sorts of offences, and the financial investigation teams that will ensure they do not profit from their illegal operations….’