Employment conditions and environmental concerns push MPs to launch an investigation into hand car wash practices in the UK. The investigation was announced by the Environment Audit Committee after concerns on “bonded labour” by hand car washes are the reasons behind the inquiry.
Environmental issues surrounding the environmental effects by chemicals the businesses use are also to be investigated. Mary Creagh, the chairman of the Environment Audit Committee, told the BBC: “We have environmental concerns, we have employment concerns, we have slavery concerns”.
Creagh added that the investigation was launched after the death of a Romanian car wash worker. He was electrocuted while taking a shower at flats adjacent to the east London car wash in which he was working in 2017.
After the incident occurred an investigation was launched and his living conditions were: “dilapidated, cramped [and] rat-infested”. The owner of this car wash was jailed in 2017 for four years for manslaughter by gross negligence.
Creagh also added “get a place where the public can have confidence that if they are using a hand car wash, they are not contributing to modern slavery. If it only costs a fiver, it may be a slave driver.”
Dawn Fraser who is head of the Car Wash Advisory Service, told the BBC: “The majority of firms do not pay a legitimate wage, but that is because it is just not being enforced.” Fraser added, “The problem is right across the board, it is not just the hand-car-wash firms,”
The Car Wash Advisory Service estimates there are between 10,000 and 20,000 hand car washes in the UK, and of them roughly 8,000 “bad boys” are engaged in criminal activity.
Its 21st century and there are many modern car technologies in the world so Britain’s parliament will be investigating modern slavery by hand car washes which will include lawmakers from across the parliament. The committee noticed that more people are being abused and enslaved with illegal sites opening across the country. According to a committee of parliamentarians, they will look at the use of the world-leading 2015 Modern Slavery Act to tackle slavery in the industry.