Britain’s largest union, Unite called for an investigation into the recruitment agency Transline today (Monday 23 January) and for the government to put ‘its money where its mouth is’ and tackle modern day slavery in the workplace.
The call comes after it emerged that two brothers were convicted of an offence under the Modern Slavery Act. Erwin and Krystian Markowski admitted conning and threatening workers they recruited for Transline which employed the workers at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The behaviour and the misery meted out by the Markowski brothers on vulnerable workers would shame a Dickens’ novel. It is all the more shocking that it took place in 21st century Britain in the warehouse of a high street retailer.
“Transline, the recruitment agency involved, has already got form when it comes to the exploitation of workers, having had its licence to operate in the food and agriculture sector taken away by the authorities. There now needs to be a full scale investigation into Transline’s behaviour and employment practices.
“Companies using recruitment agencies such as Transline also need to take a long hard look at the behaviour of the agencies they use. Pointing the finger and trying to abdicate responsibility is morally wrong and will not avoid the reputational damage that comes with cases such as these.
“The government must put its money where its mouth is too, by fully resourcing the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and enforcement action against modern day slavers. This shameful misery has no place in the workplace and can only be eradicated by strong unions working with employers, backed up with strong government action.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.