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October 5, 2011

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Research – The “dark corners” of the construction industry exposed

Construction union UCATT has published new research that shows exploitation is still rife in the construction industry, prompting it to call for more stringent protection for workers.
The Hidden Workforce Building Britain reveals, through interviews with vulnerable construction workers, “slavery-like conditions”, with individuals working in dangerous, unregulated and illegal circumstances, such as waiting in car parks to be hired and being paid cash-in-hand at rates below the minimum wage.
The second part of the report, entitled Regulation and the Vulnerable Worker, explains how the current enforcement regime is failing to prevent the exploitation of workers, stating that they have less protection than workers in sectors covered by the Gangmasters Licensing Agency (GLA).
UCATT is calling for the creation of a single independent labour inspectorate covering all industrial sectors based on the GLA model, and for an increase in resources to dramatically increase the number of inspections.
George Guy, acting general secretary of UCATT, commented: “This excellent report delves into the dark corners of the construction industry and its findings are deeply unpleasant. It is time the Government and employers accept the unpalatable truths about how the construction industry operates. Only effective regulation by a strong enforcement regime will end exploitation in the construction industry.”
A full copy of the research can be downloaded from

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12 years ago

Sadly I don’t think this government have the stomach to prevent such ‘dark corners’ in construction. They are content to reduce the so-called burdens on employers and are prepared to pay the price, including breaching employment or health and safety laws.

The real shame is, these people waiting in ‘car parks’ are often immigrants or even illegals being exploited. Moreover, they are illegally taking jobs which could belong to UK citizens and paying taxes to the government.