CRAWLEY, England — The Irish Car Wash Association (ICWA) has welcomed recent police raids to investigate claims of slave labor at carwashes in Ireland, according to the Forecourt Trader.

An offshoot of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA), the recently formed ICWA represents petrol retailers operating carwashes in Ireland, stated the article.

“The membership is very concerned at the substantial growth in the nonforecourt-operated carwashes that have ‘sprung up’ on vacant lots, disused forecourts and car parks across the country,” said David Blevings, a spokesperson for ICWA, in the article. “While the industry has no problem in welcoming competition, many of these washes operate without [licenses], have no valid planning, operate on a domestic supply and have no suitable plan for disposal of effluent which clearly affects the environment.”

Blevings reported that ICWA members were concerned regarding possible exploitation of workers at these types of carwashes because many locations were using casual labor, continued the article.

ICWA raised the issue of the unauthorized carwashes with the government, tax and water authorities in hopes of having “a coordinated approach to the problem,” informed the article, however, the association has reported little success.

ICWA members require planning permission to include interceptors and recycling tanks to set up a wash business attached to a service station, reported the article, and many require a trade effluent discharge license and are also required to monitor water quality.

Carwashes may also be obligated to provide certificates for silt and contaminated water disposal and pay water rates, added the article.

Because of the costs and overheads, Blevings stated that members cannot compete with unauthorized washes that do not pay minimum wage and/or comply with many of the regulations, noted the article.

The article reported that ICWA suggested a licensing scheme similar to auto fuel licenses for petrol stations that could be managed by the Irish tax authority.

“Without a [license] a site would not be able to trade, reducing the opportunities for running a cash business which may provide cover for other activities such as money laundering and forced labor,” explained Blevings in the article.

You can find the article here.