07 September 2009 | Jake Kanter
A gangmaster has allegedly conned workers in the Transport for London (TfL) supply chain out of thousands of pounds.
According to the public transport operator, employees on TfL's East London line construction project were said to have received as little as a third of the money the temporary labour provider was charging for their work between April last year and March this year.
TfL believes the gangmaster earned £155 a day for each of his 15 workers on the site, but was paying the staff minimum wage - £5.73 an hour - allowing him to take home £6,000 a week.
The gangmaster was appointed by building firm P. Woulfe & Son, a company subcontracted by TfL supplier Balfour Beatty/Carillion, which has not yet responded to supplymanagement.com's request for a comment.
A spokesman for TfL said: "TfL seeks the highest standards of employment practice from all our contractors. We have instructed Balfour Beatty/Carillion to carry out a thorough investigation."
Alan Ritchie, general secretary of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, said: ďThe level of exploitation occurring on the East London line was outrageous. It is very disturbing that this level of abuse went unchecked for such a long time. The highly fragmented nature of the construction industry allows principal contractors to turn a blind eye about the working conditions on their sites.Ē