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Slavery report calls for a closer look at construction

A new government report on modern slavery in the UK has called for further analysis of the construction industry.

Analysis of the nature and scale of labour exploitation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) identified construction as a “high-risk” industry in the UK.

The organisation said the industry’s often convoluted supply chains made identifying potential cases and ended illegal practices “challenging”.

Its report also found that construction skills shortages meant an increasing numbers of workers would continue to be sourced from overseas and present supply chain risks as a result, with Brexit cited as a contributing factor in this trend.

The GLAA set up a construction industry protocol in October 2017 In an effort to improve its knowledge of the sector. 

Morgan Sindall, Sir Robert McAlpine, Tarmac, Willmott Dixon and former Carillion labour agency Sky Blue were all stakeholders in the agreement.

Firms signed up to the protocol share information to prevent exploitation and are committed to raising awareness of exploitative practices through their supply chains.

The GLAA holds quarterly meetings with the stakeholders, which are also bound to notify the organisation of any cases of alleged exploitation within their own operation or supply chain.

A report released last month anti-trafficking group Focus on Labour Exploitation found more than a third of London’s migrant EU construction workers have not been paid for work while 33 per cent have experienced verbal or physical abuse.

Last month also saw a man who supplied labour for demolition work sentenced to seven years in prison for slavery offences.

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