Charter aims to combat modern day slavery
A modern day slavery charter has been given the backing of South Lanarkshire Council.
A paper went before a full meeting of councillors where it was given cross-party support.
Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, commercial organisations with a turnover greater than £36 million are required to develop a slavery and human trafficking statement each year.
This applies to companies contracting with the council.
A report by officers explains that the council currently takes a number of steps to limit the potential for human exploitation in the supply chain, and also to improve the employment conditions for those employed by suppliers.
However, the Co-operative Party have launched a modern day slavery charter and are looking to roll this out across UK local authorities.
A number of Scottish councils have already adopted the charter including Renfrewshire, Dundee City Council, North Ayrshire and the City of Edinburgh – with South Lanarkshire now on board.
The charter commits the council to a number of processes, including requiring its contractors to comply fully with the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015 wherever they apply, with contract termination as a potential sanction of non-compliance.
Independent East Kilbride West councillor David Watson welcomed the charter, saying:“It is a very important issue and the position of modern slavery in the supply chain is maybe underestimated – and not necessarily in other countries, but I suspect in our own country.
“It is extremely important that the council adopt this charter and I hope that we are being really proactive with our major contractors.”
SNP councillor Jim McGuigan also welcomed the paper but called for more to be done to protect women from forced marriages, both in a domestic and commercial setting.
Labour’s Martin Lennon added: “Modern slavery is a phenomenon which often goes unnoticed.
“We all remember the [cockle pickers] tragedy at Morecambe Bay and, unfortunately, this is just one example of it.”