The TUC has just under 200 employees and an annual turnover of under £36m. This is below the threshold for the Modern Slavery Act, but we are publishing because we are committed to doing what we can to end modern slavery. This statement is made for the financial year ending 31 December 2021.
Our approach to mitigating the risk of modern slavery is to reduce the risk of any labour abuse and promote good labour practice.
The TUC exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than five and a half million working people who make up our 48 member unions.
Strong trade union membership and organisation is the best defence against modern slavery and extreme exploitation; so we do everything we can to promote union membership and recognition through supply chains and across the economy. We support our affiliate trade unions to organise precarious workers and to negotiate improved terms and conditions for them. Unions raise conditions across the workforce and make sure that working people can enforce their rights.
The TUC campaigned for the transparency in supply chain provisions in the Modern Slavery Act. We want to see the Modern Slavery Act strengthened so that companies are required to publish meaningful statements that set out how they plan to reduce modern slavery in their supply chains.
Effective, meaningful, modern slavery statements are important to us.
The TUC’s head office is in London, and there are six regional offices plus offices in Scotland and Wales. We pay decent wages and provide good terms and conditions, including recognition of staff unions. Unlike many organisations, we directly employ staff in roles which are often contracted out, including in cleaning, catering and reception roles.
The TUC’s third-party supply chains include goods and services for the effective running of the organisation. Most of our third-party providers are based within the UK or EU. We use agency or contracted staff for some roles, including events support, maintenance and security.
The TUC is committed to ensuring there is no modern slavery or human trafficking within any part of its business or its supply chains.
The TUC’s procurement policy reflects the unions’ commitment to acting ethically. Through this, we expect from our suppliers compliance with the Modern Slavery Act and compliance with the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) base code of minimum labour standards, based on ILO fundamental principles and rights at work. For promotional items, where possible, we source from British unionised companies or companies that proactively improve pay and conditions for their workforce.
The TUC has international policy to support workers in the global South to access their rights. We work with international human rights and local trade unions and labour rights’ groups in the UK and globally, to challenge labour and human rights violations overseas. The TUC has also made a significant contribution to ILO policy having represented workers worldwide on the Governing Body for over 100 years and have taken part in the development of ILO conventions and other instruments on forced labour, including the most recent Forced Labour Protocol.
Closer to home, we are a founding member of the ETI, and are a nominated member of its Board. We also campaigned for and were founding board members of the Gang Master Licencing Authority. We encourage our affiliated unions to address modern slavery in their own supply chains.
The TUC employs staff only within the UK, apart from one staff member based in Brussels. Our recruitment procedures ensure that all prospective employees are legally entitled to work in the UK. We negotiate terms and conditions and a range of best practice employment policies and practices with unions representing our staff. As already said, we employ staff directly in roles which are often contracted out.
We are an accredited Living Wage employer. Our living wage accreditation ensures all direct and indirect employees are paid at least the living wage. We are an Investor in People and accredited by the London Mayor to his Good Work Standard and by the Good Business Charter.
The TUC carries out reasonable and practical due diligence in the sourcing of goods and services.
We request information from potential suppliers to assess their suitability and provide evidence of their compliance with labour standards as well as covering other areas of company information, policies and procedures.
Where we are contracting staff from agencies or contracting permanent services, we take care to discuss union recognition at key points during the tender process. This enables the procuring team to identify and assess any potential risks. We have also organised union recruitment sessions during big on-site contracts.
We have identified that our largest risk of exposure to modern slavery and human trafficking comes from our third-party supply chains. Our purchasing power and our leverage is small. In some areas, for example where we contract for staffing support, we can make a big difference. In others, e.g. IT equipment, it is difficult to penetrate the lack of transparency of major equipment brands and make a difference with our relatively small spend.
Nevertheless, we try to influence where we can.
To identify risk, we categorise our existing suppliers by spend (impact) and likelihood of risk as well as assess how and where we can make the most difference.
We will manage our risk by reviewing our tendering processes.
We have updated our standard contractual terms and conditions to incorporate a new clause meaning that the contractor must confirm that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place and that they are complying with the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act. New contracts with key suppliers will need to include these terms and conditions.
Key suppliers are expected to declare their compliance with the TUC’s supplier code of conduct, which includes the Ethical Trade Initiative base code as minimum labour standards.
The TUC does not permit its key suppliers to subcontract work except where prior permission has been obtained.
The TUC’s procurement specialist has been trained in procurement ethics, including the issues of modern slavery and human trafficking and briefed on the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act.
Information has been circulated to all staff to raise general organisational awareness.
Going forward, we will monitor responses of our suppliers to our questions around the Act. We will review progress against our action plan and consider additional actions within a working group, which will include a joint union negotiating committee representative.
In discussions with unions and other external stakeholders, we will develop an online learning module for union reps that will help them with:
We will explore what further collective support we can offer and extend to staff of affiliated unions and will continue to support their modern slavery efforts.
This statement shall be reviewed annually.
Last updated 27 May 2022
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