The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has given evidence to MPs investigating the hand car wash (HCW) sector.
Members of the Environmental Audit Committee met in Parliament on Tuesday 10 July to hear a second round of evidence. PRA chairman Brian Madderson was among witnesses at the first session last month.
Since being granted new police-style powers by government to investigate exploitation across the labour market, the GLAA has commenced 305 investigations, 11% of which relate to the HCW sector.
In addition, the organisation has received 178 referrals from members of the public concerned about the operation of HCWs, with the most serious reports leading to enforcement activity and arrests.
Director of strategy Darryl Dixon, said: “HCWs are one of the most visible low-paid, low-skilled industries in the labour market. They are more visible in terms of their workers than other industries where we deal with exploitation such as construction, care homes, cleaning and catering.
“There’s understandably been a lot of media interest in the industry, especially recently with the app developed by the Clewer Initiative which lets drivers report potential modern slavery at HCWs. This is something we support on the basis that motorists use a bit of a common sense and don’t put themselves at risk of harm.
“But enforcement is only one part of our approach. We are working with supermarket franchises in the East and West Midlands to develop a code of practice for HCWs which we anticipate will operate from September.
“We want to make sure consumers have the confidence to go to certain HCWs knowing that there is compliance with the national minimum wage and no modern slavery or health and safety risks for workers.”