Following on from the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) multi million pound fine, the recruitment group are “actively considering an appeal”. On Wednesday the OFT issued a £39.27 million fine to six recruitment agencies for anti competitive conduct.
These firms formed a cartel, known as ‘the Construction Recruitment Forum’, which met five times between 2004 and 2006. During these meetings they agreed to boycott Parc, a firm whose new business model would pressure on the margins of recruitment agencies. Hays Specialist Recruitment were part of this cartel, and were handed the largest fine – in excess of £30.3 million.
Alistair Cox, CEO, Hays, believes the OFT fine is “wholly disproportionate”. In a statement released yesterday, Cox said: "We take the findings of the OFT investigation seriously. However, it is important to recognise that the OFT’s investigation related to an isolated matter arising from the conduct of a single employee who is no longer with the company and affected only a small part of our UK Construction & Property business. At all times Hays has independently determined the price and terms on which it has dealt with its customers and at no stage did the matters investigated by the OFT affect Hays’ dealings with its clients.”
Cox also said that since the start of the OFT investigation in 2006 Hays have co-operated fully, and that the recruiter has: “taken appropriate steps to strengthen Group compliance and training in this area and has developed and implemented a detailed training programme for all key employees which is repeated at regular intervals.”