Plans announced in the Queens Speech to give courts in England and Wales new powers to protect people who are trafficked into the UK and forced to work (under the proposed Modern Slavery Bill) is on one those laudable initiative but what chance has it of success?
My own professional body, the CIPD, rightly say “businesses will want to support plans to outlaw the exploitation of workers, wherever this occurs. Many will already have robust processes in place to ensure that any exploitation is eliminated from their supply chains and others will be willing supporters of expanding this best practice to their own businesses,” But has anyone thought over the practicalities?
How will these offences come to light? have you actually tried to call the Police and repost a crime ? Alternatively, how much does it cost for an employee to take an employer to court (or Tribunal)?
I think the Government is deliberately missing a trick here by ignoring the issues that whilst we might have legislation we also have significant under-investment in the services that detect crime and protect employees from harm in the first place.
On another plank, I find it laughable that HM Government propose this law when they have systematically dismantled the Health and safety protection that we have successfully modelled into world class safety.
Please do not get me wrong. I abhor slavery (now and in the past). I am even against unpaid internships (as distinct from work experience which I support) but this law is a waste of time and application. I recognise that employees are open to abuse – so why target just one strand of those who are suffering when the same rules should apply to all?
For me this initiative gets a big THUMBS DOWN from me.