This week The Scrap Metal Dealers Association was invited to a Roundtable meeting with industries , Associations and Consultants discussing the pressing issue of Modern day slavery in the waste industry. What does it have to do with our members? Not a lot unless you make £36,000,000 then it is compulsory for businesses to have a policy and a process in place to identify victims. HOWEVER, Several facts became apparent, which do affect our members.
We imagine modern day slavery to be for unwilling slaves held against their will. A more defined term should be labour exploitation, which is an abuse of someone, either by no paying them, holding their passports , documentation, using their bank accounts and wages. Some of these victims don’t actually want to be rescued having been picked up from living on the streets, living in a garden shed or leaking caravan might sound a better option. However as an industry we have a duty to identify people that might require help, or at least give them the opportunity to ask for it..
Policies might be set up in businesses to ask casual labourers for their documentation, at interview as well as asking for qualifications, more emphasis should focus on their family, living conditions. etc. giving them the opportunity to open up. Although we tend not to have seasonal staff, we do see alot of drivers.
As the big multinationals focus on modern day slavery and take their responsibility very seriously, they are demanding that their supply chain are compliant as well. This will leak down to our businesses and will affect your chances in the future of getting contracts with the “big boys”. Now is the time to seriously think about your businesses and how you can develop a plan or a framework that shows your ability to identify employees or contracts that are being exploited.
There are some very disturbing stories of victims experiences which should be motivation enough but if you think of it as part of your management system policies and procedures, it makes business sense to act now and show your compliance.
If you are a member , feel free to contact us and will will help you with idea how to do this.