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First employees from new EU countries start work

ABS, the repairer network, has recruited the first employees from the new European Union countries in a bid to help alleviate the effects of industry-wide bodyshop skills shortages.

Two recruits – both from the Czech Republic – are now at work with ABS repairers in London and Tyneside. It is planned to have up to 10 in place by later this month.

Stuart Adams, of ABS repairer Autohaus, has been overseeing recruitment in the Czech Republic and is also liaising with potential new employers in the UK.

He said: "It is early days but, so far, the programme is going very well. The skills of those we have recruited are beyond expectation and they appear to be settling in."

All ABS repairers taking on the new workers have agreed to assist in finding accommodation for their first few months in the UK and to help with day-to-day tasks such as opening a bank account.

The 10 countries that have joined the EU earlier this year are Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta. Under EU rules, transfer of labour and skills across borders is easily possible.

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