As a British national, when Michael Fowler, aged 39, a driver with over a decade’s experience applied for a job as a driver with a company based only 8 miles from his home in Salisbury, he had high hopes of getting the job. After all, he had all the necessary assets – competence, experience and a strong CV.
However, after Mr Fowler applied for the job, advertised by recruitment agency Blu Global, he received an unexpected response. The email, sent by Plamena Ivanoa, a Bulgarian citizen working for Blu Global, said ‘Hi Michael. Are you British because our positions exclude British candidates?’.
Mr Fowler said ‘I was just gobsmacked, I thought I must have read the job advert wrong, but I hadn’t.’ Michael, who has been a driver for 12 years and had applied for the position via the job-board website Indeed, said the advert specified that applicants must be EU citizens and have a good level of English.
The company said it was ‘completely shocked’ after it was shown the email and has since ended the employee’s contract.
A spokesperson for Blu Global confirmed Ms Ivanoa no longer worked for the company and said: ‘We refute any allegations that we, as a business, discriminate in any way against our UK-based applicants. No candidate is denied a chance of employment based on their nationality, age, race, gender or sexual orientation. We can confirm that we continuously place candidates of European and British nationality with all of our past and present clients as we advertise for, and recruit, candidates both in the UK and across mainland Europe.’
Mr Fowler added: ‘I work for agencies all the time. I guess I was shocked because I’ve been doing this job for 12 years and you get drivers from everywhere. I’ve never really experienced anything like this before, everyone works together normally.’
Similar complaints have been voiced across the country for some time, with firms accused of looking for EU migrants who are happy to work for lower wages, but whether these are urban legends or not is almost impossible to verify.
We accept Blu Global’s explanation that they do not discriminate against British applicants, but we have seen no explaination as to why an employee would make such a spectacular deviation from what is described company policy without cause.
Something hasn’t been explained in full, serving only to feed suspicions among those who fear they are being ignored in favour of Eastern European applicants.
Can you just imagine the shouting and screaming that would have erupted if the email had said ‘no foreigners’?