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Labour’s plan to crack down on cowboy employment agencies who exploit workers

“The next election is not just a choice between parties, it is a choice about whether we have a recovery which works for most people or a recovery that works just for a privileged few, it is a choice about what kind of country we want to be.

“The Government will tell you the economy is fixed, but the British people know it is not delivering for them. The Government wants Britain to compete in a race to bottom with low wages, low skills and less security - but together we know can win a race to the top with higher wages, higher skills and greater security at work. The Government sees nothing wrong with growing inequality and unfairness, but I know Britain can do better than that.

“I believe the basic bargain of our country is that hard work should be rewarded. But too many people face insecurity, exploitation and unfairness at work. It will be the mission of the next government to change this.

“We will not tolerate a zero-zero economy where hundreds of thousands are kept on zero hour contracts while a tiny privileged minority pay zero tax.

“And nor will we tolerate a world of work that is becoming more brutal because of the way some cowboy employment agencies have been allowed to operate. They are undermining dignity at work, driving down standards and creating greater insecurity for families.

“There has been a huge increase in temporary agency work in recent years. Many employment agencies play their part in supporting businesses, as well as workers, who want flexibility.

“But there is now overwhelming evidence that some are operating in the shadows of our economy and on the margins of law, damaging the basic fabric of British life that hard work should be properly paid.

“Even the industry itself is expressing concern that the number of rogue agencies have increased in recent years. They are breaking the law on the minimum wage, failing to pay their taxes, and exploiting workers to undercut the wages of permanent staff,

“These rogue agencies need to know their time is up and we will act.

“We will close the legal loophole which allows some to undercut the wages of permanent staff.

“We will stop them from recruiting exclusively from abroad.

“And we will serve notice on the rogue agencies that they must clean up their act.

“We will begin consultations now, even before the next election, on the different ways this can happen such as through a licensing system so we can be sure that agencies are complying with basic standards.”

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