Hand automobile washes needs to be required to have a licence to function in an try to stop “fashionable slavery in plain sight”, in line with MPs.
The Environmental Audit Committee has been conducting an enquiry into fears that low-cost hand automobile washes exploit staff and injury the surroundings.
MPs stated greater than 1 / 4 of calls to the Trendy Slavery Helpline had been from automobile wash staff.
Low-cost hand automobile washes now account for 80% of the sector within the UK.
They’ve grown quickly over the previous 15 years, and are sometimes in grocery store automobile parks and on disused forecourts.
The MPs stated authorities ought to have a trial licensing scheme and overview whether or not the Trendy Slavery Act might be up to date to cowl companies as small because the hand automobile wash operators.
Committee chair Mary Creagh stated: “Hand automobile washes are a typical sight in our cities and cities. But they cover the widespread exploitation of staff via illegally low pay, poor working situations and, in some circumstances, compelled labour.”
In its report, the committee pointed to various well being and security violations, together with a loss of life in unsafe lodging, circumstances of trench foot and chemical burns because of “extended publicity to water and 20 cleansing brokers”.
The report cited one research which confirmed that out of 450 individuals who had been trafficked into the UK, 40 had been working in hand automobile washes and had come from Japanese European nations.
The MPs had been additionally “astonished and dismayed” to find there had solely been 14 minimal wage prosecutions within the sector since 1999.
“The federal government should goal the sector and prosecute exploitative employers,” stated Ms Creagh.
The MPs additionally highlighted dangers to water high quality because of waste water flowing into drains.
Ms Creagh stated regulators appeared to “flip a blind eye” to breaches of planning and environmental rules at hand automobile washes.
Nevertheless, the report stated not all hand automobile washes had been in breach of the legislation.
The Automotive Wash Advisory Service (CWAS), which represents every kind of automobile washes together with hand automobile washes, operates a “Wash Mark” scheme to indicate an organization which is assembly required requirements.
The CWAS stated it welcomed the report, however added it puzzled “why it has taken 5 months and taxpayers’ cash to uncover info which we who work inside the automobile wash trade have recognized for years”.