When Ireland-based recruitment firm Parc U.K. Ltd. in 2003 began to offer British contractors outsourced worker staffing services, it was pioneering a new way of doing business in the U.K. construction market. Six competitors, who responded by forming a “cartel” against it, now face fines totalling $61.2 million.
As the biggest cartel member, Hays plc, London, was fined $48 million by the government’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) late last month. That fine was discounted by 30% because the firm agreed to cooperate with investigators. Without the cooperation discounts the firms’ fines would have totaled $273 million, reflecting the “serious breach of competition law,” says Heather Clayton, OFT senior director. Two other firms escaped fines by whistle-blowing.