The faces and nationalities have changed, but one year after Building’s exposé of the exploitation of Kosovar refugees by British contractors, other eastern European workers are gathered on the same London street corner looking for work on the capital’s building sites.

Within a month of last year’s article (23 April 1999), police swooped on the area, just off Cricklewood Broadway, north London, and cleared it on a number of occasions. However, as these pictures reveal, the men waiting here in the hope of a day’s labour are back in force, and contractors are once again using the area as a hiring fair where they can acquire cheap labour at short notice.

A Romanian who described himself as a refugee said it was the best place in London to find work. He said he had worked on “some big sites” in the city, and received £3 an hour for his labours. But he added that in the current political climate, he feared that he and his friends were an easy target for a racist attack. “It’s dangerous but there are many of us here,” he said.