Forced labour: a labour market phenomenon in Europe Nick Clark Working Lives Research Institute
The research • a review of academic and grey literature; • analysis of the available data on forced labour and informal labour markets; • analysis of the context of forced labour as perceived by government, employers and the media; • a case study from each country.
Europe’s record • “Conscious of its spiritual and moral heritage, the Union is founded on the indivisible universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity”(Preamble to the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights) • ILO estimates 880,000 workers in Europe subject to forced labour (20% sexual exploitation, 70% labour exploitation) (ILO 2012)
Forced labour: European context - back then or over there https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=forced+labour&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=D7E&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=_BLsUOC0Bu2R0QXpm4C4AQ&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAA&biw=1253&bih=864
Sectors: • Domestic service • Construction • Agriculture • Hospitality • Cleaning • Food manufacturing & processing • Textiles & clothing looking where forced labour occurs, or finding because looking?
Migration & forced labour • Countries of origin both EU and non-EU • Home country nationals amongst both exploitative employers and exploited workers
Employment offences • Unpaid wages • Excessive hours • Oppressive control/supervision/management • Undeclared or undocumented work (documents include contracts and payslips)
Case studies • Mobilising for regularisation of building workers in northern Italy - super exploitation as a business model for construction industry • Supporting struggle for pay of berry pickers in Sweden – system of regulation by collective agreement leaves these workers unprotected
Case studies • Litigation over status of seasonal agricultural workers in France – “seasonal worker” immigration status led to exposure to repeated abuse of workers over extended periods
Some findings • European governments approach forced labour solely as element of trafficking. Immigration controls and punishing perpetrators take precedence over protecting employment or human rights of those subjected to forced labour • Criminal sanctions may be deployed, but if this prevents or delays redress, workers may decline to participate in proceedings • Lack of purposeful detection, illustrated by absence of excessive working hours acting as a trigger.
Some findings • Specific problems in enforcing rights: doctrine of illegality, right to act on behalf of workers • Self activity by workers noted in most countries (demonstrations, marches, strikes, litigation) – responding rapidly with support essential for trade unions & NGOs wishing to combat forced labour