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OFT reveals cartel in recruitment industry

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has today revealed a £39.27 million fine which has been spread amongst six of the U.K.'s best-known recruitment agencies. While Hays, perhaps the U.K.'s best-known agency, has received the biggest hit with a £30.36 million fine, two other companies which came forward to confirm the existence of a cartel were exempt from the fines which could have been as high as £173 million if the UK authorities worked to the letter of the law. So what happened?

It would appear that a number of UK recruitment agencies actively worked together to both fix prices and cut other third parties out of the industry in order to protect their own business and profitability. These two issues are directly at odds with UK competition laws and while the cartel may never have been revealed if the two parties had not come forward, it did open something of a can of worms for the OFT.

Slowly but surely a number of UK industries are coming under more and more pressure with the construction industry only last week experiencing a similar fate with the revelation of price-fixing across a number of public sector projects. There are rumours that more sectors and more companies will come under pressure from the OFT in the short to medium term as the UK regulators "get tough".

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