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Cars New car wash licences to combat exploitation of workers

14:15  12 may  2021
14:15  12 may  2021 Source:   motoringresearch.com

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Licencing agreements for hand car washes are being trialled, with the aim of ensuring businesses treat employees, customers and the environment fairly.

a close up of a car: Car wash © Provided by Motoring Research Car wash

According to the Responsible Car Wash Scheme (RCWS), the sector has been ‘consistently been identified as an industry where workers are at risk of exploitation, ranging from poor working conditions to modern day slavery’.

The trial is being funded by the Home Office and supporters of the RCWS – including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda.

In order to gain accreditation, operators must agree to:

  • Consent to trade and trading standards
  • Provide financial transparency and corporate governance
  • Provide safe and hygienic working conditions
  • Protect the environment
  • Offer compliant and ethical employment practices and prevention of worker exploitation

The RCWS says legitimate businesses can be undercut by those breaking the law, creating an unfair competitive landscape.

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a person in a car: Car wash © Provided by Motoring Research Car wash

Many car washes also operate from unsuitable premises that discharge dangerous effluent into drains and water courses. And staff may be given ineffective protective equipment when handling dangerous and corrosive cleaning materials, it claimed.

“With car washes now reopening after lockdown, risks are resurfacing with regards to violation of labour, employment, health and safety and environmental regulations,” said Teresa Sayers, managing director of the RCWS.

“RCWS aims to ensure compliance, improve standards, and give consumers confidence that they are choosing a fair car wash, by accrediting businesses that adhere to the RCWS Code of Practice. With Home Office backing and an independent evaluation, this has the impetus it needs to work on a nationwide level.”

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