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TUC probe into exploited workers

Date 31 May 2007
Author The Editor

The TUC has launched a drive to tackle the "shocking" exploitation of workers who are forced to endure low pay, long hours and unsafe working conditions. The union organisation has set up a commission to investigate vulnerable working and consider improvements to legal protection for employees. Business leaders have agreed to join the commission, which will hold a series of meetings with exploited workers, including migrants and home-workers, starting in Manchester.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "Most people will have the odd grumble about their job, but are treated fairly most of the time. But some workers still experience rank exploitation that Charles Dickens would recognise. Most of the time their experience is hidden, but we have had a recent rash of shocking exposures of poor treatment. The job of our new Commission is to shine a light on Britain's hidden exploited workers, and work out what government, employers and unions should be doing to protect them.”

Commissioners from the world of business include Serco chairman Kevin Beeston, Jaeger chief executive Belinda Earl and Land Securities chairman Paul Myners.

Belinda Earl said: “I became a member of the Commission as I support its cause to improve the working conditions and rights of Britain's vulnerable workers, and would like to play a part in making this goal a reality.”

Over the next week, the TUC is calling on people who have experienced exploitation at work to call a freephone number (0800 072 0010) open from 31 May to 6 June to tell their story, or to report their experiences via the web at

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