Date Published: 20.11.2014
There have been a number of news articles lately on modern day slavery and the construction sector does not escape this focus. In 2013, 53 potential UK victims were identified in the construction industry and this is very likely to be the tip of the iceberg.
Besides ethical and moral considerations there is a very real business case for investigating modern day slavery in the supply chain – the Modern Day Slavery Bill is currently going through parliament and will require big businesses to publically state each year what action they have taken to protect against slavery. This is requiring pro-active responses.
So how then can you address this challenge?
Firstly, we must understand that for most people the idea of slavery (or ‘gang-mastering’ as we commonly recognise it on construction sites) is abhorrent; so much so that we would often fail to recognise it even if the symptoms were plainly obvious.
For example, in a conversation with a site manager when we outlined this issue and how it was used in industry his response was, “I used to regularly use a ‘slab gang’ who could provide labour and materials for less than I could get the concrete with my own main contractor discount – I really should have looked into that”.
You see, it’s not that the industry doesn’t care that gang-mastering exists, it’s that the idea is too horrible to imagine it happening on our sites so we assume it is not.
Luckily we can help, if you want to know more about how you can recognise the signs of gang mastering get in touch, after all its forward thinking businesses that will be catching the eye of public sector procurement advisers.