From the TUC

Modern Slavery Bill: take action on Monday

06 Dec 2014, By

The TUC is working with a range of corporate accountability and anti-slavery campaign groups and NGOs, including the Ethical Trading Initiative, to strengthen the Modern Slavery Bill, which is now before the House of Lords. Ahead of the Lords Committee stage on Wednesday, join us in a twitter storm for tougher measures.

There are several changes we want to see in the Bill, but as a first step, this Monday, we will be pressing the government to strengthen the requirement for large companies to report on the actions they are taking to address modern slavery in their supply chains.  I signed a joint letter that appeared in the Daily Telegraph today.

We want the bill to:

  • define the threshold for requiring companies to report at £60m worldwide receipts;
  • include minimum standards for what companies report on;
  • ensure strong monitoring and enforcement so companies comply; and
  • make reporting part of the company directors’ report to ensure companies take it seriously at the highest levels.

The government has introduced its own amendment, but it’s too weak. So this is a crucial opportunity for the government to decide whether to listen to us and improve the bill or not. Crossbenchers (meaning Lords without a party affiliation) have tabled amendments to give the government the opportunity to do just that. It’s the best (but not the only) chance to get the Bill improved.

We want unions and their members to tweet at the Prime Minister. @TUCGlobal will be tweeting throughout the day, using the hashtag #modernslavery and @Number10gov, along with our campaign partners. You and your members can retweet our tweets or make up your own, but do use that hashtag.

After the Committee discusses the amendment we’ll consider the government’s reaction and assess our next steps. The Bill will return to the Commons in January, and if we win in the Lords, we’ll be asking MPs to back the changes.

The coalition pushing for this amendment includes Amnesty International UK, Anti-Slavery International, CAFOD, Corporate Responsibility Coalition (CORE), Dalit Freedom Network, Environmental Justice Foundation, Evangelical Alliance, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Labour Behind the Label, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Traidcraft, Unseen, Walkfree and War on Want.