Rec agencies at centre of 'rip off' wage clash

Rec agencies at centre of 'rip off' wage clash

Recruitment agencies are at the centre of a scandal over workers being forced to pay to access their own wages.

Multiple news outlets have reported that staff working on a new Government construction project in Scotland are employed through agencies who are using umbrella firms that charge staff to access pay.

The row escalated after the Head of the Scottish Government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, claimed that workers were choosing to pay to access their money.

Last Thursday, she told the Scottish Parliament that “it is at the discretion of individual employees if they choose to work through an agency.”

She continued: “At the AWPR [the Government project in question], there is no requirement to do so because the subcontractor offers to directly employ all employees working on the project.

"That means any worker who wishes to be paid directly by the subcontractor can be, which avoids any of these practices which I would condemn by agencies being applied."

However, Unite, a trade union, denies Sturgeon’s claims adding that workers are being ripped off.

Stevie Dillon, Unite Regional Officer, said: "Unite Scotland has no knowledge whatsoever of workers on major infrastructure projects in Scotland being offered a choice of direct employment with major contractors.

"One system dominates this entire section of the industry. A recruitment agency approaches the worker with a job offer. If the offer is accepted the worker is then directed to sign up with a specific company-which will be one of the rip-off 'umbrella' contractors."

Furthermore, the Scottish Labour leader has claimed that Sturgeon has no idea how many workers are employed through agencies which charge workers to access their cash.

The Scottish Government has defended itself by saying that it expects companies delivering public contracts to adopt fair and ethical business practises.

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