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Forced Labour in the Mushroom Industry Dr Jennifer Hamilton.

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Presentation on theme: "Forced Labour in the Mushroom Industry Dr Jennifer Hamilton."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forced Labour in the Mushroom Industry Dr Jennifer Hamilton

2 What is Forced Labour?  UN legal instruments and ILO Conventions Number 29 and 105 on forced labour Convention No. 29 (1930) states that forced or compulsory labour shall mean: All work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily [Article 1 (1))]

3  Belser (2005:2) outlined that forced labour represents: a restriction in human freedom; a violation of human rights; and the exact opposite of ‘decent work’ or ‘human development’ as defined by the ILO.

4  The International Labour Organisation (ILO) indicators: Threats or actual physical harm to the worker; Restriction of movement and confinement, to the workplace or to a limited area; Debt bondage; Withholding of wages or excessive wage reductions that violate previously made agreements; Retention of passports and identity documents so that the worker cannot leave or prove his/her identity and status; and Threat of denunciation to the authorities, where the worker is in an irregular immigration status. Indicators of Forced Labour

5  Deception  Coercion  Retention/withholding of identification documents  Debt bondage  Threats Coercion and deception are used to control and exploit victims. Victims may experience debt-bondage, the withholding of identity documents, threats and abuse, reduced/no pay, excessive working hours, dangerous conditions, poor accommodation and discrimination (Dowling et al. 2007: iii). Elements of Forced Labour

6  Migrant Workers Restrictive and complex nature of migration regimes in Europe thought to contribute to their vulnerability and exploitation (Van den Anker 2009).  Why? No viable alternative (Anderson and Rogaly, 2005) Vulnerable (Dowling et al. 2007: 10): Who is at risk?

7  1950 European Convention on Human Rights  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  1990 UN Convention on Migrant Workers  1998 ILO declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work International Policy

8  2004 Asylum and Immigration Act  2004 Gang masters (Licensing) Act  1998 Human Rights Act (Article 54)  2009 Coroners and Justice Act Section 71 (Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour)  NI Policy Governed by UK UK Policy

9  Victims’ experiences of forced labour can include: Reduced/no pay; Long/Excessive hours; Lack of holiday/sick pay/breaks; Poor health and safety provision and dangerous working conditions; Poor accommodation; Discrimination; Abuse – physical and psychological; and Threats, intimidation and isolation (Dowling et al. 2007: 8). Issues

10 Migrant Labour  Increase in migrant labour within the agricultural sector  Low wage  High turnover and demand  Seasonal  Mushroom Industry Labour intensive “Dehumanising” – Scott et al (2012)

11 Mushroom Industry  Exploitation  Republic of Ireland  Equality Commission  Research in NI Qualitative interviews

12 Research Findings  Working below skill level Qualifications, skills and experience  Documentation More than half initially undocumented Unaware of implications  Accommodation Provided by employer Living conditions

13 Research Findings  Working Conditions Hours Pay Time Off Treatment Health and Safety  Fear Discipline and Dismissal  Redress

14 Conclusion  Continuum Exploitation and forced labour  Borderline forced labour  Deception  False promises

15 Conclusion  Threats  Exploitation Excessive working hours Health and safety issues  Vulnerability

16 Recommendations  Partnership approach  Reduce worker vulnerability  “We want everything to be so that employers treat workers according to the law, with full employment rights” (interviewee)

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