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Labour members urge Babergh District Council to support motion to help combat modern slavery

Luke Cresswell (Sudbury town councillor and Babergh district councillor). (4080972)
Luke Cresswell (Sudbury town councillor and Babergh district councillor). (4080972)

Babergh councillors are being urged to back a campaign against modern slavery, in a new proposal by the Labour Group that is set to be put forward later this month.

The motion, proposed by Sudbury South councillor Luke Cresswell and seconded by Great Cornard North councillor Tony Bavington, is calling on Babergh District Council to sign up to the Co-operative Party’s Charter Against Modern Slavery.

Currently supported by 24 councils around the country, the charter aims to secure commitments from local authorities, so that they will take measures to make sure there are no instances of modern slavery on their supply chains.

A spokesman for Babergh District Council confirmed the Labour Group’s motion has been received and is currently being processed.

It is expected to be discussed at the next full council meeting, which takes place on Tuesday, September 25.

It asks that the council trains its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery and ethical supply chains, and require all contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, or else have their contracts terminated.

Cllr Cresswell, who is also a Sudbury town councillor, said: “Councils up and down the country are cottoning on to using their spending power to tackle the heinous crime of modern slavery.

“Modern slavery is a crime which is often hiding in plain sight in our community. It could be in nail bars, construction sites, farms and car washes.

“Babergh needs to ensure that the council is not inadvertently funding, through the goods and services that it buys, those who would profit out of the human misery which is modern slavery.

“We must send a clear message throughout the district.”

The motion, if approved, would also require the district council and its contractors to fully implement and publicise a whistle-blowing system, so that members of staff are able to report any suspected examples of modern slavery.

In addition to this, it calls on the council to challenge its suppliers on any “abnormally low-cost tenders”, and for all contracted workers employed by suppliers to be allowed to join a trade union, and not be treated unfairly for belonging to one.


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