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An alliance against exploitation

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Some of Britain’s biggest names in construction have joined forces in an effort to drive out slavery and promote ethical labour in the building industry.

The ‘Alliance against Exploitation’ has seen SCAPE partner with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the modern slavery charity Unseen, the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab and Achilles, the global leader in supply chain risk and performance management.

Alliance Against Exploitation Web

The partnership is aimed at eradicating slavery and labour exploitation across the building sector by sharing intelligence, identifying emerging trends and committing to robust auditing procedures.

In interviews with 1,200 construction workers, almost half said they had not received written terms and conditions of employment while almost one in three admitted using non-standard evidence of right to work documentation to gain employment.

The interviews, conducted by Achilles across the industry, also revealed four out of five workers had not been spoken to about modern slavery.

Our Framework Operations Director, Andy Bacon said:World Anti-Slavery Day this week (18 October) marks another opportunity to raise awareness of modern slavery and encourage government, companies, and individuals to address the problem.

“At SCAPE, we recognise this is more important than ever. We can all produce modern slavery statements, and we can all stand behind high level contractual commitments regarding compliance, but, if we are not actively researching and verifying compliance within our high-risk supply chains, we are ‘ticking boxes and ignoring the reality of our industry.

“Focused and targeted auditing, aligned to implementing robust procedures would play a pivotal role in driving standards. This activity is now a mandatory requirement on all of our new frameworks through the tendering and contract process.”

We have partnered with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Achilles, Unseen, and the Rights Lab at Nottingham University to join in our fight to eradicate modern slavery and promote ethical labour within construction supply chains.

Andy Bacon

Framework Operations Director at SCAPE

Elysia McCaffrey, Chief Executive of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority – the government agency charged with tackling slavery and exploitation – said the partnership was a prime example of how industry can play a significant role in driving out exploitation.

She said: “Business has a huge part to play in tackling the exploitation of workers. Construction companies know their industry better than anyone else and are best placed to drive improvements and standards within their supply chains, ensure workers know their rights and become more vigilant in the fight against those who look to exploit others.

“The construction sector is taking a mature, open approach to the issues of exploitation. It recognises the industry is a lucrative target for exploiters and is standing up to this threat. A significant level of investment is going into the above work, all self-funded by the parties involved, and demonstrates what collaboration between the public and private sector can achieve.”