Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building
CM NEWSLETTER

Construction challenged to do better in tackling modern slavery

Kevin Hyland, UK anti-slavery commissioner, has laid down a challenge to businesses and the construction sector to change its day-to-day behaviour and perception when it comes to modern slavery.

This was the message at the official launch today in the House of Lords of a new best practice toolkit to help the construction industry tackle the issues of forced labour and modern slavery in its global supply chains.

The toolkit, which has been put together by the CIOB and industry alliance Stronger Together provides guidelines, training and best practice for the industry to address this growing issue and it is hoped a significant proportion of Tier 1 contractors will sign up and agree to adopt its policies.

Hyland said that businesses need to learn that the issue of labour exploitation is organised crime and as serious as other trafficking issues.

He said: “Just a decade ago, when people mentioned modern slavery it immediately made you think of sex trafficking. But forced labour is just as serious and needs to get the attention and be recognised.”

The new toolkit has been influenced by other sectors including retail, where companies such as Primark, Marks & Spencer and Next have banded together to address the issues of exploitation in the supply chain.

Since its introduction in March 2015, the Modern Slavery Act has galvanised the construction industry and made companies more aware of the need for better practice and monitoring of their supply chains.

Prime minister Theresa May has said it is “the great human rights issue of our time” and it is estimated that there are more than 45 million people subject to modern slavery in the world today.

The toolkit follows on from the publication of the CIOB report Building a Fairer System: Tackling Modern Slavery in Construction Supply Chains, which was published over the summer.

Chris Blythe, chief executive of the CIOB, said as the industry faces the pressures of calls for increased output amid labour shortages, it was vital that the topic of forced labour is addressed and dealt with.

He said: “I want to see these policies adopted from board level right down to on site, the support has to be there throughout companies and everyone informed to address the issues. I see the CIOB members as the forefront of this and as a first line of defence.”

Blythe said that in the past, when issues of modern slavery arose in the supply chain, it was often the policy to just fire the subcontractor but this tactic would no longer wash and the toolkit would help identify how to spot signs of slavery, no matter how subtle, on site.

He added that in the recent consultation on the CIOB code of conduct, members had asked that offences related to trafficking and slavery be added to conviction for violence, dishonesty and sexual offences that ensure exclusion from institute membership.

He also called on Hyland to specifically include construction in his reporting over the coming years to see how much progress the industry has made.

“The Modern Slavery Act affects all business sectors, it would say an awful lot about us if, in a couple of years’ time, Kevin could make some positive comments about the construction industry in his annual report.”

The toolkit can be downloaded free at www.stronger2gether.org

Comments

Way behind time to act

  • 18th Feb 2017, at 08:35 PM
  • Sheila Anderson

Leave a comment

News

27 February 2017 Housing association offers offsite expertise to rest of industry

27 February 2017 Shard developer Irvine Sellar dies

27 February 2017 CIOB mourns passing of 'special' past president Professor Li Shirong

27 February 2017 Balfour exits ME as part of 'simplification' programme

27 February 2017 Southwark pleads guilty over Lakanal House fire

27 February 2017 Lendlease to build Google King's Cross HQ

26 February 2017 London firm fined £450k for work at height incident

26 February 2017 Tradesmen sentenced for £300k tax fraud

26 February 2017 Boardman peddles benefits of collaboration at Trimble event

23 February 2017 Report slams government free schools spending

23 February 2017 T&T appoints Tom Deacon as head of digital

23 February 2017 Talent scale lays bare extent of skills crisis

23 February 2017 Morgan Sindall reports 2016 profit of £44m

23 February 2017 Barratt profits jump on regional strength

23 February 2017 Consultation on future of CITB launched

22 February 2017 Project spotlight: How Reading's Thames Tower was made fit for 21st century

21 February 2017 Galliford Try sets 2% margin in new strategy

21 February 2017 Skanska to trial augmented reality hard hats

21 February 2017 Engineering report reveals 20,000 pa skills shortfall

21 February 2017 EIC calls for new recycling targets post-Brexit