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Nowhere to turn

27 February 2004
Employment evidence cover

Nowhere to turn [ 110 kb] - CAB evidence on the exploitation of migrant workers

Summary

Citizens Advice Bureaux help people with almost 600,000 employment problems a year. Many workers seek our help because they have not been fairly treated at work, often their minimum legal rights to paid holidays, sick leave and maximum working hours are being flouted. Citizens Advice Bureaux have reported many such cases where the workers involved are migrants, often from other EU member states, working in care homes, cleaning jobs, hotels and restaurants as well as in agriculture and food processing. These migrant workers are the most vulnerable to exploitation. Brought to the UK in the expectation of fair pay and working conditions, their dreams become nightmares. They fear to complain in case of dismissal and simply have nowhere to turn for protection. As the Government itself recognises, this amounts to “a modern-day slave trade, exploiting migrant workers and undercutting UK employees”.

Citizens Advice believes that all workers in the UK, including migrant workers, now need better protection from employers who break the law. A proper enforcement regime is needed – the UK is the only EU member state without an independent body for workers to turn to for protection.

Social Policy contact: Richard Dunstan Social.policy@citizensadvice.org.uk

Nowhere to turn [ 110 kb] - CAB evidence on the exploitation of migrant workers