‘Wood’ you believe that?

Posted: February 5, 2011 in British jobs for British workers, Law & Disorder

Nine illegal workers have been caught in a UK Border Agency raid on a Cheshire timber yard.

IlieA team of 16 UK Border Agency officers and a police dog handler targeted the P & S Ashley Timberworks of Norton Way, Sandbach, just before 11am. They found nine Romanian labourers, seven men and two women, aged 21-46, who didn’t have permission to work in the UK ..

Following checks of the employees the nine Romanians were arrested for breaching their visa conditions and working illegally in the UK. Each of the Romanian workers was given an individual fixed penalty notice requiring them to pay £1,000 each.

As four police vans rolled up, the yard had looked empty but officers soon discovered one woman living in cramped conditions in one of six static caravans on the premises.

A further 11 workers, including legal Hungarian and Slovakian employees, told UKBA officers they lived in two terrace houses in the neighbouring Hill Street owned by Mr Ashley.

One labourer, who gave his name only as Gabriel, told the UKBA he worked 12-hour shifts six days a week cutting and preparing kindling.

He said Mr Ashley paid him £190 a week and that he paid £70 a week in rent to Mr Ashley for the Hill Street property.

Gabriel said he had permission to work as an agricultural worker after answering an advert for strawberry pickers in the UK but when that role ended his uncle got him a job at the timber firm.

Why does Mr Ashley employ twenty or so foreign workers you may ask, well I’ll tell you.

May 19 2010

Paul Ashley, 53, of P & S Ashley Timberworks, of Norton Way, Sandbach ‘put lives at risk’ by continuously flaunting fire safety laws and was given a £130,300 fine.

He admitted eight counts of breaching the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Chester Crown Court on May 11.
Ashley was warned by Health and Safety Executive officers on three separate occasions during 2008 and 2009 before being taken to court.

Judge Elgin Edwards fined Ashley of Green Lane, Moston, £30,000 for the lack of suitable and sufficient risk assessment, £20,000 for failure to take proper preventative and protective measures and £5,000 each for six more offences including the lack of a suitable fire alarm and suitable means of escape. He was also ordered to pay Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service £50,300 in costs. The combined sum of £130,300 had to be paid within three years.

Does Mr Ashley employ foreign workers because he can pay pathetic wages, charge workers £70 a week each for house sharing or because they will not question dangerous working conditions, you decide!

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