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Date: 29 July 04

UNISON pursues recruitment company back to Philippines

UNISON, Scotland's public service union, today sent 12 sworn statements from members working as nurses in the Scottish healthcare sector to the Philippines Government's representative in the UK.

The union is asking him to pursue a prosecution in the Philippines against a recruitment agency who took money from these workers to get them a job.

Speaking on behalf of the nurses, UNISON Regional Organiser, Matt McLaughlin said, "Our members each had to pay around £500 to St George's Recruitment Agency before they were placed in a job in the UK. UNISON understands that this is unlawful under Philippines law. Over the past few months we have been working with the Philippines government to prepare and submit these claims and I hope that in doing so companies that abuse workers like St George's Recruitment Agency will be closed down."

The union has also complained that St George's has been trying to buy off its members. "It's a measure of this company," Matt said, "that instead of concentrating on righting the wrong they have committed they instead decided to put their energy into buying the silence of the very people that they have abused. Our members have been phoned, e-mailed and written to by St George's with offers on money if they do not proceed with their claims."

UNISON has set up an Overseas Nurses Network in Scotland which is gaining impressive support from healthcare workers from abroad and has meant the highlighting of scandals such as this 'Cash for jobs", and an earlier scam involving excessive rents being charged to overseas staff by a private company.


[Notes to the Editor: The twelve nurses have been in the UK for about a year and work for an NHS employer in Scotland. They are frightened of possible consequences should they be identified, so we cannot supply any for interview. We can provide anonymised copies of their statements, and copies of the letter from St. George's offering money.]

For Further Information Please Contact: Contact Names and numbers in Footer as below - Matt McLaughlin (Regional Organiser) 0845 355 0845(w) 07946 339 036(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)





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