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New Bill to crack down on construction gangmasters

Construction union Ucatt has warmly welcomed the tabling of a new Bill which if passed will crackdown on illegal gangmasters who exploit vulnerable construction workers.

On Wednesday 10 June, Jim Sheridan, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, won a first reading for a 10 minute Rule Bill, which seeks to extend the Gangmasters Licensing Act to cover construction.

Ucatt says there has been a huge increase in gangmaster and employment agency activity in the construction industry in recent years, particularly with workers coming to the UK from Eastern Europe.

Ucatt claims this has led to workers receiving low pay, being forced to work excessive hours, poor safety conditions, being charged extortionate rates for substandard accommodation and an increase in threats and intimidation on construction sites.

In the worst case Ucatt said it discovered workers on a PFI hospital site in Nottinghamshire being paid just £8.80 a week. Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchie said: “If we are going to tackle exploitation and casualisation in the construction industry, it is essential that gangmasters are properly licensed and policed.

“It is important that the Government recognises the ongoing injustices which construction workers face and back this Bill.”

The Bill will now receive its second reading on 16 October.