A lawyer at Cross Street Law Centre has helped bring about the exposure and prosecution of an illegal work scam operating in the south-east London area.
Patrick McNamee was approached by a man who was fed up of being significantly underpaid for his security work. Hearing the detail, he became suspicious of the practices of his client's employers. He involved the local MP, Teresa Pearce, who alerted the police.
The police investigation discovered that Blue Feathers Guarding Ltd had systematically underpaid its employees. Some of these employees had irregular immigration status, which meant they were largely unable to challenge their terms of employment.
Two men, the company's director and manager, were charged, found guilty and given prison sentences. Mr McNamee's client was awarded compensation by an employment tribunal for his mistreatment.
However, not all is well that ends well. Despite this determined intervention and years of dedicated service to the Erith community, Cross Street Law Centre was forced to shut its doors for the last time. The financial pressures on it, primarily due to legal aid cuts, have proved to be too great.