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Government's first exploitation chief to target 'rogue employers'

A former migration adviser has been made the Government's first exploitation tsar as part of a crackdown on rogue bosses.

Sir David Metcalf will oversee strategy for three organisations tasked with rooting out unscrupulous employers in his role as director of labour market enforcement.

The academic was chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, a founder of the Low Pay Commission and a former member of the Senior Salaries Review Body, which makes recommendations on pay for top-ranking public officials.

Sir David said: "I'm very excited to be taking on this new role, drawing together the important work of these three labour market enforcement teams.

"While the UK is by and large a fair and safe place to work, there are still rogue employers who exploit their workers and undercut honest businesses. As the Government has made clear, this will not go unpunished."

New powers came into force last November that mean employers can be jailed for up to two years for serious employment offences.

The Government is launching a £1.7 million campaign to raise awareness of national minimum wage rate, set at £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over.

Sir David will set the priorities for the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and the National Minimum Wage enforcement team.

Business minister Margot James said: "Sir David's extensive experience will be invaluable in this hugely important role to help stamp out workplace exploitation and ensure that when unscrupulous employment practices are found, justice is done for those affected."

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: " Sir David's appointment must herald a long overdue move to step up the fight against worker exploitation in the UK in 2017.

"Not a week goes by without new stories of workers in UK industries being exposed to shameful working conditions.

"GMB members from all backgrounds need to know they will be protected from unscrupulous employers and working practices that are quite simply unacceptable in this day and age.

"Just three employers have been prosecuted for paying workers below the minimum wage despite HMRC finding 700 who have broken the law in the past two and a half years.

"Naming and shaming is not enough - we need see a crackdown on those employers who are breaking the law."

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