Training videos aimed at preventing illegal working and modern slavery in the construction sector have been launched.
According to the Home Office, illegal working often results “in abusive and exploitative behaviour; the mistreatment of illegal migrant workers; tax evasion and poor housing conditions.” It can also “undercut legitimate businesses and have an adverse impact on the employment of people who are lawfully in the UK.”
To help combat this in construction, CITB has awarded Willmott Dixon £18,000 from its Flexible and Structured Funds to produce the “Right to Work” videos, which educate viewers on checking the ‘right to work status of employees and in doing so help prevent illegal working.
The law states that every employer must check their employees’ right to work in the UK. Failure to do so could mean fines as severe as £20, 000 per illegal migrant.
Commenting on the films Geeta Nathan, Head of Economic Analysis at CITB, said: "The threat of human trafficking in construction is real. Firms want to root it out, but don’t always know how. These films will help companies protect staff, abide by the law and uphold the reputation of the industry. We commend the efforts of Willmott Dixon for initiating this project.”
According to the Home Office, 53 potential victims of trafficking into construction were referred to the authorities in 2013, but the hidden nature of modern slavery means that actual numbers are likely to be much higher, and are growing every year.
Commenting on the film’s potential impact, Willmott Dixon’s Group HR Policy and Projects Manager Helen White, said: “This is important to us as we are a company that believes strongly in fair and equal opportunities for all. With one of our driving principles being ‘it’s all about the people’, it was a natural next step to support any initiative aimed at eradicating the potential mis-treatment of those working in our industry.
“Carrying out robust Right to Work checks helps to prevent illegal working, which in turn helps protect vulnerable people from abuse by unscrupulous employers. These training videos raise awareness of illegal working and demonstrate the importance of thorough Right to Work checks. My main hope is that the relevance and accessibility of these videos will encourage smaller employers in the supply chain to undertake this training and that in turn, the entire industry’s Right to Work knowledge grows, helping to prevent modern slavery.”
Dhanjaye Damhar, Manager at global immigration company Newland Chase, appears in both films. He said: “All businesses, large or small, are legally required to ensure that all employees have the right to work in the UK. The videos will assist employers, and their supply chains, in meeting their legal duties and ensuring they will be excluded from paying a civil penalty. We welcome and support this initiative from Willmott Dixon and the CITB’.