The Workers Union has issued a cautiously optimistic response to a new modern slavery registry announced by the government.
The registry has been created to encourage organisations to maintain transparency and prevent incidences of slavery in their supply chains.
Although businesses will not currently be mandated to enter their statements in the new registry, the government hopes that those that do will provide investors and consumers with a straightforward means of making credential checks.
The initiative builds on the existing provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which states that commercial organisations that supply UK markets and turnover £36 million and above must publish a modern slavery statement. The statement has to be updated on a yearly basis and must feature on the company’s website.
Directors are required to rubber stamp the content, which should explain how the company’s supply chains, risk-assessment processes and training combat modern slavery.
Speaking about this issue last year, safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins said:
‘We expect businesses and public bodies to be open about their risks, including where they have found instances of exploitation and to demonstrate how they are taking targeted and sustained action to tackle modern slavery.’
The Workers Union on Modern Slavery
Modern slavery is a pernicious issue that must be treated with the utmost seriousness. Sadly we know that there are – and continue to be – instances of it in British workplaces. People labouring in poor conditions, with little in the way of adequate remuneration or workers’ rights are transmuted to human machinery by uncaring, unscrupulous management.
As an organisation that’s purpose built to stand up for working people and their right to dignity at work, we abhor any such actions. That’s why we’re supporting the government registry.
That said, we must not rest on our laurels. In time the government must look to make it a legal requirement that all companies enter their policy on the register. This must be supported by an adequate regime of inspections on the ground.
Only then can we be confident that these corrosive practices are being challenged.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union