The Workers Union has urged the government to do more to improve the lives of British factory workers. The broadside came after allegations that as many as 10,000 such employees in Leicester could be working in ‘modern slavery’ conditions.
According to figures from Leicester City Council, there are close to 1,500 textile factories in the city. Many are housed in legacy buildings that are now in need of repair. It is alleged that workers in these places are paid under the statutory minimum wage – with some earning as little as £2 an hour.
Meanwhile people in the local community are concerned that not enough is being done to deal with the issue.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 makes provision for ‘collaborative partnerships and multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working.’ These are described as ‘fundamental to ensure that victims are identified, protected and safeguarded.’ However local figures, such as deputy city mayor Adam Clarke, believe there are too many organisations with enforcement responsibilities. Mr Clarke argues that a single enforcement body should be set up as soon as possible.
The Workers Union says
Workers Union chief spokesman was adamant that the buck stops with the government.
‘The systematic abuse and exploitation of the most vulnerable in our society shames us as a nation. We cannot call ourselves a modern, progressive country when people are working in intolerable conditions. The Leicester allegations may or may not prove to be true, but our own research suggests this is a widespread problem.
‘The government needs to get a firm grip on this issue. They could start by improving the regulatory powers and oversight of responsible bodies. They should also ensure that the appropriate organisations can move quickly to deal with suspected abuse.’
Mr Morgan went on to condemn business owners who make a fast buck out of the misery of others.
‘This is the dark, hidden face of uncontrolled capitalism. In this model, human beings simply become a disposable extension of consumer desires. And company chiefs don’t care as long as the orders keep coming and the workers put up and shut up.
‘We’re calling this out as utterly unacceptable. Let’s move to stop this practice now and end the sustained attack on the living standards and prospects of working people.’
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union