Industry Profiles - Courier - 2020
Here we look at labour exploitation in the courier industry and the headline trends for this sector including victim profiles, location, how they are recruited and how to prevent exploitation.
The victim’s gender and age are rarely reported. Romanian and Hungarian nationals are reported in the sector.
Vulnerabilities may be targeted. There is limited reporting concerning irregular migrants.
Various locations are reported however there are no hotspot area(s).
There are intelligence gaps around recruitment and transportation to the UK where this occurs overseas.
There is some limited reporting around accommodation. Workers often live in residential property supplied by the exploiter. There are a small number of reports concerning workers sleeping in their vehicles.
Withheld wages are reported, often regarding overtime. Deductions from wages (for example for vehicle hire) may leave workers in debt and with little to live on.
Some workers are classed as self-employed but do not consider this to be correct. Workers are unlikely to have contracts.
Health and safety
Excessive hours are a concern, some drivers report working 13 hour shifts, with no breaks, seven days a week.
The courier market will continue to grow.
Consumer demand for quick and convenient deliveries may intensify demand and pressure on workers.
Key questions to prevent and identify labour exploitation
• Do you have a code of conduct for businesses you work with? Are there regular audits to identify and address any exploitative labour practices?
• How do you make workers aware of their entitlements during employment?
• How do you collect feedback or complaints from workers that may highlight indicators of labour exploitation or modern slavery? Are there processes in place to check any concerns?
• Do you have any additional due diligence checks for workers at risk of being exploited? Including access to translation services?
• Do you know all levels of subcontracting that occur in your business model?
• Do you have an internal escalation process if you identify an issue of exploitation or modern slavery? Do you know who to contact?
• Do you have a publicised reporting process for complaints by workers?
• Are your workers (particularly drivers) trained in how to identify and report concerns of modern slavery? Including if encountered whilst attending other industries/businesses?
What to consider when reporting intelligence
Example: A logistics company run by an unknown male may be exploiting Romanian workers provided by a named agency. Workers receive only half of their wages and their boss is also their landlord. The workers are accommodated in a HMO in London.
What further information may be useful?
- How many workers may be affected by this exploitative activity?
- Where is the company based?
- What are the working hours?
- Is the agency complicit?
- Are there any other indicators of control present?
- Are there any other concerns for worker welfare?
Whilst not all factors may be known, any additional details will assist the GLAA in identifying people and locations involved for operational purposes and to improve our intelligence picture.
Who to contact
Please report to the GLAA:
• Unlicensed trading in the regulated sector (agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and any associated processing and packaging) across the UK.
• Labour market offences (non-payment of the National Minimum Wage, breach of Employment Agency Standards) in the regulated sector in England and Wales
• Individuals, labour users or labour providers who are suspected of modern slavery and human trafficking in any labour industry (excluding sexual exploitation), or individuals who are potential victims of such activity in England and Wales.
Please report to partners:
• Issues of National Minimum Wage only, in sectors that are not GLAA regulated to the HMRC NMW team (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/national-minimum-wage-enquiries-and-complaints)
• Health and safety issues only (all sectors) to the Health and Safety Executive (http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm)
• Workplace relations and employment law issues (including contract issues, discrimination and grievances) to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) (https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1410)
• When there is an immediate threat to life contact the police emergency number.
• To report labour exploitation, human trafficking or modern slavery outside of the regulated sectors in Northern Ireland or Scotland, contact the local police service