MP calls for end to modern day slave trade

The disaster
The disaster

Michael Connarty is calling on the UK Government to back his bill to end modern day slavery in the wake of the Dhaka disaster.

The Falkirk East MP is putting pressure on Westminster to push through new legislation that will force major high street companies to audit their supply chain.

Mr Connarty submitted a private members bill to Parliament last year that will create a framework for large firms operating in the UK to make vigorous checks to ensure slave labour is not used in third world countries, and the UK, to produce their goods.

He is now stepping up his campaign following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka where almost 400 people are known to have died with hundreds more missing.

The building housed factories of workers making goods for big British high street names like Primark. The biggest supplier, New Wave Style, occupied three floors of the building and also supplies goods to Bonmarche, Monsoon, Benetton and Matalan, which has a store in Falkirk.

Primark has offered families compensation and emergency food aid to victims, but Mr Connarty wants to ensure other disasters are prevented in future.

“This model has recently become law in California but my bill goes further and includes services, not just goods,” 
said the MP.

“I recently gave a speech to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on this. No one should ever be held in forced labour, but this happens in the UK too.

“The Rana Plaza incident was the third major disaster in that area of the world over the last year or so. New Wave Style forced its workers into the building that day. There was a bank in the building, but their employees were told not to go in.

“High street companies sell products contaminated by slavery to innocent customers and this must be addressed. My position is these people should have the same rights and should be able to sue British companies as part of the supply chain.”

The garment industry in Bangladesh is one of biggest in the world and has been criticised for the low pay 
employees receive.