Construction industry’s pledge to tackle labour exploitation
11th October 2017
One of the UK’s biggest labour sectors has put its name to a joint agreement aimed at eradicating slavery and labour exploitation.
Influential names within Britain’s construction industry have signed a protocol drawn up by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the UK’s foremost investigative agency for labour exploitation.
The documents commits signatories to work in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers, agree to the sharing of information to help stop or prevent exploitation and pledge to raise awareness of slavery through supply chains within both sectors.
The UK’s construction sector contributes more than £100 billion to the economy and employs around three million people. It has also been identified by the GLAA as a high risk industry where modern slavery and labour exploitation occur.
BRE Group, Carillion and its subsidiary recruitment company Sky Blue, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Marshalls are among those who have agreed to sign the protocol.
Paul Broadbent, chief executive of the GLAA, said: “There are huge profits to be made for those unscrupulous enough to exploit people and trade them as commodities. The signing of this protocol is a significant moment in our commitment to eradicate modern slavery and labour exploitation in the UK.
“It sends out a message that legitimate businesses are not prepared to sit back and allow themselves to be infiltrated those who abuse and exploit vulnerable workers. The GLAA is the enemy of illegitimate working practices and criminality, and a friend to legitimate businesses targeted by those who commit exploitation.”
Dr Shamir Ghumra, Director for the Centre for Sustainable Products, BRE, and co-chair of the Modern Slavery in Construction Coalition, said: "“We welcome the GLAA protocol which we hope will ultimately work towards the eradication in our industry of this most heinous of crimes."
Martyn Coffey, Marshalls CEO, commented, “We are working hard and smart to make sure that Marshalls’ business operations and supply chains worldwide are as toxic as possible to the organised criminals who seek to exploit vulnerable individuals and corporations. I welcome the GLAA Construction Protocol and its call for industry collaboration.”
John Morrison, Chief Executive of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), said: “Both the state and business have a respective duty to protect and responsibility to respect the rights of workers in all industries. The Construction Protocol is a welcome proactive collaboration that will help safeguard both construction workers and the reputation of participating companies.”
The protocol will be announced on Wednesday (11 October) at the GLAA’s national conference at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.
The event will also announce many of the UK’s leading high street and online retailers and fashion brands, along with a number of public sector enforcement bodies, have formed a collaborative Public/Private Partnership with a shared commitment to eradicating slavery and worker exploitation in UK Apparel and General Merchandise supply chains.
The textiles sector is another high risk industry for labour exploitation and the GLAA hopes this partnership will also lead to an agreed protocol aimed at tackling the issue.
Mr Broadbent added: “The UK’s response to the threat posed by modern slavery and labour exploitation is now among the best in the world with better intelligence, improved partnership working and increased awareness of the issue.
“The conference will bring together the public and private sectors, operational agencies tackling modern slavery, the Third Sector and many other individuals and organisations committed to putting an end to it.”
Note to editors:
· The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) is the foremost investigative agency for labour exploitation in the UK. Its mission is to prevent, detect and investigate worker exploitation across the entire economy.
· Prior to April 2017 the GLAA was the Gangmasters Licensing Authority but itsremit was broadened and the organisation given tough new powers under the Immigration Act 2016 as part of wider Government reforms to labour market enforcement.
· The GLAAworks in partnership with a wide range of UK enforcement agencies, government departments, foreign embassies and overseas Government authorities and International Agencies to prevent the exploitation of workers, protect vulnerable people and tackle unlicensed/criminal activity ensuring that those licensed operate within the law. Find out more at www.gla.gov.uk
· The signing of the construction protocol follows the creation earlier this year of the Modern Slavery in Construction Coalition by leading construction sector institutions and associations, aimed at raising awareness about modern slavery in supply chains.
Interview opportunities are available. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Paul Coffey at the GLAA Communications and Engagement team on 07825 79713