"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Government even more unpopular refusing to extend the role of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority.

Regular readers will know we have followed the efforts of Paul Whitehouse at the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA). He was a lousy Chief Constable in Sussex and was allowed to resign and collect his pension .. or be sacked.

He (and an excellent team) have done a terrific job at the GLA and the decision not to extend the reach of the body outside the supply of labour or use workers to provide services in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging.food growing and preparation is insane. As he said on the BBC4 Today programme on Tuesday 5th August (BBC audio): "I don't understand why if it's right to prevent exploitation in agriculture and food processing, it's not right to prevent exploitation elsewhere."

John Hutton, spoke at the TUC conference in Brighton last year and claimed existing regulations could deal with worker abuse better than an extension of the Gangmasters Act. Hutton suggested the newly extended CDM regulations could resolve worker abuse.

John Thompson, president of Ucatt, said: “The CDM regulations are to do with health and safety, and have no meaningful connection to agency labour. We are infuriated at this suggestion.”

In March, John Hutton, secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform (BERR), said there was no need to extend the GLA to construction because “agency workers represent a very small element, some 1.5-3% of the construction workforce”. he has also expressed the view that ther should not be more legilsation but better regulation and enforcement.

Seventy seven workers were killed in construction industry nationwide in 2006 and Construction union leaders say the number of deaths in the industry is 'unacceptably high'.

According to figures from the HSE, there were 981 major injuries in the construction sector caused by slips, trips or falls in 2005/06.

As a consequence of the enforcement of HSE laws the rate of reported fatal injuries to all workers in the industry between 1999/00 and 2005/06 has fallen by around 35 %.

Trade unions have called for its remit to be extended to the UK construction industry, but lobby group the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) opposes any extension of the GLA's current powers.

Anne Fairweather, head of public policy at the REC, said: “There are issues that need to be addressed, but we don't think the GLA has proved it can drive out rogue traders, and until it does its powers should not be extended to the construction industry.”

Having seen how successful the GLA has been in enforcing the minimum wage, working conditions, ensuring holiday and maternity pay entitlements , safety at work and being transported , it is not surprising that the REC are resistant to anyone looking over their shoulder.

On emajor crticism that the regulation costs money , but the GLA is effectively, but indirectly self financing - More than £2 million in VAT payments alone are due to be paid to the Exchequer from gangmaster businesses, thanks to the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).

The GLA expect a potential net income of £2,075,000 will be received by UK government from gangmaster licensing in VAT payments alone, working out at an average £51,887 per gangmaster.

In addition to the VAT, these businesses declared that they supplied 6,193 workers which may have led to an increase in national insurance payments and individual tax payments by the workers, as well as the corporation tax that the companies would be liable to pay themselves.

So far the Government have not made a final decsion but thye will need some funds to keep the party going and they don't want a dust up with their paymasters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A related story :

Illegal Immigrants Found Crowded In House

Tuesday, 5th August 2008, 19:55

Fourteen Chinese illegal immigrants were discovered crammed into a three bedroom house - using a trench dug in the garden as a toilet.

The immigrants, who were also running seven rice cookers from a single power point, were paying £1,000 a month in rent between them.

But the address was raided after neighbours complained of the stench coming from the home-made ditch in the garden they were using as a toilet.

Council officials believe the men were all working in the construction industry.

Council staff, police and immigration officials raided the semi detached house in Harrow at 5am this morning after complaints from neighbours about the smell.

A spokesman said: "A total of 14 people, thought to be Chinese nationals, were found in the house. Officers also found examples of dangerous wiring, including seven rice cookers being run from one power point.

"Those living in the property were understood to be working in the construction industry and were collectively paying £1,000 a month in rent.

"It came after complaints from neighbours. Some living nearby complained of latrine smells coming from what was later found to be a home-made cesspool in the garden."

A council officer said: "The whole floor area was crammed with mattresses. They had converted a downstairs living room off the kitchen into a makeshift bedroom as well."

Two people were arrested for questioning and Harrow now plans to prosecute the owner for running a house of multiple occupation without a licence.

Cllr Susan Hall, Harrow Council's portfolio holder for environment services, said: "Illegal houses of multiple occupation present a clear danger to those living in them and a nuisance to those living nearby - in this case neighbours who were disturbed by smells.

"Landlords who decide to profit from cramming people into properties should take note that we will take enforcement action to stop this kind of exploitation."

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