BOROUGH MP Andrew Miller has hit out at various scams affecting temporary and agency workers across the UK.
Mr Miller has introduced a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament to protect the rights of these workers.
He hit out during a House of Commons debate on business, enterprise, regulatory reform and the national minimum wage.
MPs had heard about some employers who undercut local employment by abusing the minimum wage, accommodation charges and charges to transport workers to and from their place of work.
Mr Miller said: “When I was undertaking research for my private Member’s Bill on temporary and agency workers, I came across such scams day in, day out.
“Some of them are covered by current legislation and some will need fresh regulation.”
He asked Patrick McFadden, Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs: “Can he assure me that now that the Agency Workers’ Directive is in force that the Government will implement the necessary changes to enforce it?”
Mr McFadden said: “The Agency Workers’ Directive is not yet in force, but it has been agreed. It represents a much better deal for the United Kingdom than previous drafts of the directive that have been discussed in recent years.”
He also told the debate: “The minimum wage has been in place for a decade now, and there is no excuse for the practices set out.
With that in mind, the Government has allocated extra support to enforcement of the minimum wage – some £3m more a year.
“But we are also changing the law through the Employment Bill, which is currently before the House.
“It will increase the arrears for any employee who is not paid the minimum wage and stiffen the penalty regime against the employer who does not pay it.
“Those measures are absolutely right and in the interests of both low-paid workers and the vast majority of good businesses that obey the law and treat their workers decently.”
Of rogue employers being prosecuted, he said: “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which recovers arrears on the minimum wage, has up to now placed its emphasis on that and recovers several million pounds a year, so there have been relatively few prosecutions.
“One change that we are making in the Employment Bill is to give the enforcement officers extra powers.”