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Portugal – Recruitment company under investigation

16 August 2013

Recruitment firm Bespoke Recruitment Services International is reportedly under investigation by Portuguese and British authorities. The company is accused of recruiting Portuguese workers for a project in Birmingham but failing to deliver promised working conditions.

The Portuguese workers, originally numbering 106, were recruited by Bespoke Recruitment Services in Estoril, Portugal to work on a construction project in Birmingham. It is reported that, of the 106 recruits, only seven are currently working in Birmingham on behalf of sub-contractor Volker Laser, which provides construction services to Birmingham City Council. 

Workers complained that the conditions failed to meet those outlined in their contracts. When complaining to the Portuguese consulate in Manchester they were unable to provide copies of their contract as none had been provided by the recruitment agency. In lieu of a contract, the documentation provided to the workers outlined the agreement between the recruitment firm and their client company.

A recent article by the Birmingham Mail reported local anger at the number of foreign workers employed for the construction project in the midst of high levels of local unemployment. Commenting to the Mail, Volker Laser confirmed that approximately 30% of the project’s 1,000 strong workforce were from outside the Midlands. It is estimated that up to 200 recruits were brought in from Spain and Portugal and were being housed in student halls of residence.

When contacted by Staffing Industry Analysts for further information, a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills advised: “We never comment on whether we are investigating a company as a matter of practice.”

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