Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Legal Slave Labour

A high court judge has found that wages of £1 an hour paid in immigration detention centres are lawful.  Detention centres, like prisons, are exempt from minimum wage legislation.

The pay rate is less than one seventh of the legal minimum wage and described by detainees as “slave labour wages”. However, the judge ruled the rates were acceptable because the purpose of the types of jobs being done, such as cleaning, hairdressing and welfare support, was “to provide meaningful activity and alleviate boredom”. He said no one was compelled to do the work.

The rate has remained the same since 2008 when the Home Office standardised work payments, which had previously varied between detention centres. In 2016-17, detainees carried out 887,073 hours of work, for which they were paid £887,565. (A very small percentage of them – 0.27% – were paid an enhanced rate of £1.25 an hour for special projects)

Toufique Hossain, the director of public law at Duncan Lewis which brought the legal challenge on behalf of the men, said, "Being paid £1 an hour for essential work is obscene. The judgment is disappointing but we will appeal. This is yet another feature of a harsh, hostile, broken immigration detention system that has to come to an end.”

No comments: