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UK – Miliband attack on recruiters unfounded, says ARC

05 October 2012

The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC), a professional trade organisation, has yesterday rejected attacks by MP and Labour Leader Ed Miliband on the UK staffing industry.

At a party conference in Manchester this week, Mr Miliband criticised the recruitment industry.

“The ARC are now exploring the roots of this negativity – which stems from the assertion that access to work is denied to some UK born jobseekers because providers run policies to only hire foreign workers.”

There have been numerous reports in the media that certain recruitment agencies target non-UK nationals, particularly from Eastern Europe who are willing to work for less money than, allegedly, their British counterparts. 

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the ARC said “it is not reasonable to single out recruitment agencies for doing the best for their clients while many EU workers have been willing to work for less than their UK counterparts. When agencies follow the instructions of their clients; it does not mean they pay illegal rates.”

In his speech on immigration to the Institute for Public Policy Research Mr Miliband said that “some recruitment agencies operating in Britain are now effectively open solely to foreign workers. They exclude local workers from their books. It’s happening because it is a part of our economy that has not been subject to sufficient rules and regulations. We need to change it.”

On behalf of the ARC membership, Adrian Marlowe is now writing to the Labour Party for clarity and examples regarding the problems, and the nature of any proposed changes.

“An attack on agencies is entirely unnecessary, as the recruitment industry is no more subject to discrimination charges than any other sector. In fact, it performs a sterling role for its clients in keeping the UK as an attractive and flexible place in which to do business,” said Mr Marlowe.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has also criticised Mr Miliband’s claims. REC CEO Kevin Green said his remarks on recruiters exposed a “fundamental misunderstanding” of how the industry and the UK’s labour market work.


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