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Slave labour shames us all


In Jackie Whitelaw's excellent article in NCE last week, she said: 'Clients are happy to accept bids from contractors who are assuming labour costs will be this low [slave labour] because they are advised by consultants this is the norm.' Wilberforce will be turning in his grave! It is about time we engineers tackled corruption and crime with the same vigour that we have tackled health and safety over the past 20 years.

The client now has to have sufcient construction budget to cover safe working practice.

In the same way our profession should be designing a system to make sure that clients allow sufcient budget so that the labour rates of subcontractors are not at gang master level.

We need to have urgent, broad based and open debate to change the culture in the construction industry. Ten per cent of construction spending is lost to corruption: $390bn (£205bn) worldwide annually!

Eddie James (M), 21 Sledgate, Rillington YO17 8JR

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