Report highlights ways to tackle the blight of modern slavery

The construction industry should unite to help tackle modern slavery in the sector, according to a new report by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

The CIOB - which this week swore in Turner & Townsend director Paul Nash as its new president in a ceremony in Hong Kong - said greater collaboration was needed to eradicate unfair labour practices.

Clients and tier one suppliers also need to take greater responsibility for their supply chains, the CIOB said.

The blight of modern slavery has come under greater scrutiny in recent years, in part thanks to the UK passing the Modern Slavery Act last year to help tackle the problem in the UK and overseas, while scandals surrounding treatment of workers in Qatar have also hit headlines.

The CIOB’s report - Building a fairer system: tackling modern slavery in construction supply chains – was compiled with input from a variety of organisations, including Amnesty International, Bechtel and CH2M.

It examines illegal recruitment practises and how faults in procurement processes allow exploitative practises to remain hidden in building supply chains.

The report recommmends firms lobby clients and governments to accelerate change, work directly with suppliers to improve practices, and increase the proportion of labour directly employed on projects.

CIOB chief executive Chris Blythe said: “Strong leadership is required, as is the willingness to take more responsibility, both individually and at a corporate level.”

The report was published after T&T’s Nash became the 113th president of the Chartered Institute of Building.

Delivering his inaugural address, Nash said highlighting the importance of ethics in construction would be a central theme for his year-long tenure.

Nash said: “We are all responsible for the reputation of this industry and for the wellbeing of the people who work within it. No matter what country we work in.”