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UK – Migrant workers get £250,000 in compensation

16 February 2012

It was today reported that 14 migrant workers from Poland, working at a construction site in Wales, have won more than £250,000 in compensation. The men will receive the pay-out from the sub-contractor Darmar for work that they carried out at Uskmouth power station in Newport, South Wales.

The migrant workers did not receive the correct overtime payments as Darmar had quit the UK, the employment tribunal heard. GMB, the union that represents the workers, said to the BBC that "The order is enforceable in the UK but the employer has now closed their offices and has left the UK. That makes it impossible to enforce the order while they are out of the UK. We have an officer in Brussels and we will be raising this in the European Parliament to see if there are any avenues that can be explored and to expose these people who can just go to another member state and get away with these payments. We looked at their payslips and the amounts of money being paid into their bank accounts, which just didn't tally.”

It has also come to light that the men had been charged a lodging allowance per week and had not taken any leave for seven months. Each of the migrant workers are said to receive around £18,000 in compensation.

Jeff Beck of the GMB said in an interview that "We raised this with the auditor on site and then it came to light that these people were being exploited and receiving substantially less than they should've received."

He also claimed that exploitation was not only widespread in the construction industry, but also "in many industries where these people are coming into the UK to work and being totally exploited by unscrupulous employers."

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