ATSCo, the trade association for IT recruitment agencies, has threatened Jobserve with legal action if the job site refuses to continue posting its members' vacancies, according to a report on contractor website, Shout99.
The battle between the two parties erupted recently after ATSCo decided to launch its own recruitment site, atscojobs.com, to advertise vacancies on behalf of its members, which include Computer People, Apex, Lorien, Elan, Computer Futures and Harvey Nash.
In an interview with Shout99, Jobserve managing director, Robbie Cowling confirmed that he had intended to refuse business from the site's new competitor (ATSCo), but said he had held off while seeking legal advice, following a letter from the trade association's lawyers that labelled his actions "anti-competitive".
"Why should I do business with them if they are setting up in competition?" Cowling told Shout99. "They (ATSCo members) represent 26 per cent of my income, but I am prepared to lose that. It is unfortunate, but it looks like the only route forward is to make the lawyers rich."
Cowling went on to say he believed the situation would be "bad for business", but argued that he intended to remain an independent who "operates a level playing field" with agents.
According to Shout99, Cowling "indicated" during the interview that he might open Jobserve to direct advertising from end-user clients as well.
"With this latest development, I feel like a piece of meat surrounded by a bunch of piranhas," Cowling added. "They should concentrate on offering a better service to their clients rather than trying to put me out of business."
At the time of going to press, Freelance Informer was unable to reach ATSCo chief executive, Ann Swain, for comment.