VGC is the first labour supplier to be recertified to the Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard.
The Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard (ELS) verifies an organisation’s systems in relation to the Modern Slavery Act. After a stringent audit system by the BRE assessor in February 2019, we have been moved up from level 2 to level 3. (Levels are from 1 – 4 with 4 being the highest.)
The audit found that: “The organisation can demonstrate business leadership and can be seen to be a market leader in the field of ethical labour.”
The assessor also noted our achievement of the Skanska ‘Act Ethically and Transparently’ award. VGC trainers run regular toolbox talks on spotting the signs of modern slavery at sites across the UK.
“Working ethically is just what we do,” said John Hannan, HSQE director. “We always strive to go beyond the minimum standards, and we thank BRE for such a thorough review of our processes. The ELS gives a good structure to help us to keep moving forward and stay at the forefront of ethical recruitment and employment.”
Go beyond equality – discussing modern slavery at the highest levels
Group services director Ciara Pryce took part in a construction leaders’ roundtable on modern slavery hosted by Victoria Atkins, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability. The meeting on 12 June at the Home Office explored the challenges that construction companies face in protecting workers. Three priority areas of concern were discussed:
- managing risks in subcontractng
- ensuring responsible recruitment
- implementing responsible purchasing practices.
The event was supported by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Crown Commercial Service, and Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
Relevance of the Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard (BES 6002:2017)
According to the International Labour Organization, the construction industry accounts for nearly one fifth of modern slavery victims in the private sector. CIOB’s report Construction and the Modern Slavery Act found that thousands of workers are at risk because of the way the industry works. Factors such as fragmented supply chains, a cost-driven culture and project discounting all contribute to the challenges. The National Referral Mechanism recorded 130 different nationalities of potentially trafficked victims in 2018.
Ethical Labour Sourcing Standard approved companies:
- Marshalls plc ELS0001
- Sir Robert McAlpine Ld ELS0002
- VGC Group ELS0003
- Tideway ELS0004
- Tarmac ELS0005
- Hercules Site Services Ltd ELS00006
- Aggregate Industries UK Ltd ELS00007