On 19th November 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Labour Peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock “That this House takes note of the role of trade unions in a democracy and their contribution to the general economic wellbeing of the nation.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate about the historic connection between trade unions and the churches, today’s ‘non-joining’ culture and the role unions can play in combating modern slavery. The speech can also be watched online, here.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, for this timely and important debate, and for his introduction to it. I want to say a little about the context in which we are having the debate and then make one or two points about the future of the trade union movement. As the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, hinted, the trade union movement as we know it came out of chapels and churches and concern for the welfare of human beings in the world of work. We face similar challenges. If I may, I shall name some of the challenges that face not just churches but trade unions.
We live in what I call a non-joining culture. People want their rights and services in their lives but there is less energy to join and put your back to the wheel to make it happen. As people do not join and our numbers go down, there are fewer people to take up this important work. That is a real challenge for the trade union movement, as it is for the church, not least as the world of work gets more complex. We need more energy, more wisdom and more contribution from the experience of those in the world of work. Continue reading “Trade unions, the church and modern slavery – speech by the Bishop of Derby”
On 15th October 2015 Baroness Doocey asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether there has been an increase in the number of cases of child trafficking reported since the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was passed.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, asked a supplementary question:
On 25th March 2015 Bishop of Derby, Alastair Redfern, spoke in the House of Lords’ consideration of the Commons’ amendments to the Modern Slavery Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, for his inspirational leadership on this issue. He has frequently expressed that this is a moral and a practical issue, which is why we take it so seriously. I am also grateful for the way that the Government have responded positively to the discussion around the noble Lord’s first amendment, for which I voted. However, I am afraid that I cannot support this amendment, for reasons much along the lines of the noble Lord, Lord Deben. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks on protection for victims of trafficking and forced labour”
On 4th March 2015, three bishops took part in a division on the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill, relating to giving the powers to the Secretary of State to appoint a body which could maintain a website enabling greater business supply chain transparency.
The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke during two amendments during the third reading of the Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop co-sponsored an amendment to give the Secretary of State the power to appoint a body to maintain a website which would enable businesses to be accountable to their investors, their consumers and their shareholders. This amendment did not pass. Bishop Alastair also supported the government amendment to improve the Gang Masters Licensing Authority. This amendment was agreed by the House. The Bill will now go to the House of Commons for consideration.
On 23rd and 25th February 2015, bishops took part in two divisions on the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill, relating to the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and the protection of overseas domestic workers.
On 25th February 2015, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, tabled an amendment to the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendment sought to strengthen and improve the resources of enforcement agencies who may be required to deal with groups engaged in modern slavery and human trafficking. The amendment was withdrawn, following assurances from the Minister that the Government would bring forward its own proposals at Third Reading.
The Bishop also spoke in favour of a group of amendments to the Bill relating to the transparency of supply chains.
Amendment 92 – Enforcement Agencies
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I thank my colleagues, the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, for their support for this amendment. I also place on record my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Bates. With others, we have been extremely grateful for the patient and kind way he has listened to us, engaged with us and put on special meetings on various subjects. The point of this amendment is to highlight the fact that both the Government and many of us involved in this issue are learning a great deal as we go along. Therefore, there is a proper space for consultation, review and further learning to be done. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby leads call for stronger powers for agencies tackling modern slavery”
On 25th February 2015, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in support of an amendment to the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop co-sponsored the amendment which sought to provide additional protections for overseas domestic workers at risk of exploitation. The amendment was put to a division of the House and was subsequently accepted. More details on the vote can be found here.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, several of the amendments to this important Bill have been introduced as filling a gap in the legislation. That is especially true of Amendment 90. As the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and the noble Baroness, Lady Royall of Blaisdon, have said, it will assist all private and diplomatic domestic workers by providing a measure of protection and flexibility otherwise lacking in the Bill. It will also enable those who have been victims of modern slavery to remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period while seeking alternative employment. That is why I am glad to have my name attached to the amendment. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle supports amendment to protect domestic workers from slavery”
On 10th December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Committee Stage of the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop spoke in support of an amendment to put a new National Referral Mechanism on a statutory footing, and also raised questions about how the Government’s approach towards tackling slavery could be better integrated with safeguarding awareness. The Bishop had previously spoken in the Bill’s Committee Stage, and his remarks can be read here.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I will contribute briefly to the debate. I hope the Government will take the time to take seriously the NRM review. Jeremy Oppenheim has made some crucial insights, particularly about the 45 days being used as a period for deciding about judicial processes, not a period for nourishment and proper support. Therefore, we need to think very carefully about how we pitch the 45 days or whatever period it is, alongside a commitment to support victims on a longer timescale. He also made an important point about the concept of safeguarding, just referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Warner. I have spoken about this before in the House. It would be very helpful for everybody if we could connect what we are doing about slavery with the culture of safeguarding awareness. I very much support the suggestion from the noble Lord, Lord Warner, about what we call this mechanism. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for strong National Referral Mechanism to support efforts to tackle modern slavery”