Slave Wages: Shining a light on detention centre exploitation


‘Slave Wages: Shining a light on detention centre exploitation’ is a blog written by Toufique Hossain on the 23rd November 2017. Since our tutors have advised us to look at work migration for the week, I decided to go ahead a strengthen my knowledge in this area by picking this blog.

This blog goes on to speak about immigration detainees, which are tortured survivors, refugees and people who later won unlawful detention claims. This blog speaks about needing to help to improve the lives of the detainees.

A maximum of £1 per hour was set for the immigration detainees by the Home office. This was described as a ‘abhorrent policy’ which is unfortunately followed the brave clients which are willing to go ahead with it.

Washing, cleaning, working as a barber and being disqualified from the national minimum wage is only some of what the detainees are required to live with. They are told ‘they can work’ but they are not ‘workers’.

This is typical for the residents of the UK’s grim removal centres. The term ‘removal’ was given by the Home Office. The reality is that many detainees are held there for the long haul. In the meantime, detainees are neither prisoners, nor considered members of society. Out of sight, out of mind.

Deaths and injuries also occur in the detention. Footages on TV have been taken to also show these terrible incidents that take place. Though because they are hidden from the public view, little seems to change, therefore the Home Office feel comfortable carrying on with their crime.

In May a letter was sent to the Home Office on the behalf of several clients to state the facts about the £1 maximum wage, which has been named as ‘irrational, discriminatory and unlawful’. It had been argued that there should be flexibility in how much detainees are paid and that they should have the right to apply to be paid more. If no action is yet to be taken upon this atrocious matter, then it shall be bought to the High Court.

In June, a response had been heard. Several strange justifications for the policies had been mentioned. Shockingly, it emerged in an internal document from 2008 that a limit of 75p had originally been considered appropriate but, the memo cautioned, ‘there would be a risk of detainees refusing to engage any longer, and even of disgruntlement’. It seems that clients should be grateful for their £1 per hour salary.

The Secretary of State for the Home Office Amber Rudd, who earns over £100,000 a year, simply cannot bare wage inequality or unequal opportunities.

‘relief from boredom’, is been a statement made as to why the detainees work and that they do not need money for their day to day existence in detention. ‘Work – like other activities – is not compulsory.’

The clients and other detainees are doing work essential to the management of the immigration removal centres, much of it banal and tiring. They are working as cleaners, barbers, laundry workers, litter-pickers and food servers. This work would otherwise need to done by workers paid at least the minimum wage.

Philip Armitage told Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio, ‘clients do need money for their day-to-day existence. They need money to buy credit to speak to their lawyers and their family, and to buy essentials’. Men and women deprived of their liberty, in a position of powerlessness, are forced to carry out unedifying jobs for next to nothing by the circumstances which have been imposed on them. If this isn’t slavery I don’t know what is.

Reading this blog, it had honestly been a shock. All that’s ever heard and mentioned is ‘Human rights’ yet we see the complete opposite, we are seeing slavery, and only down the road. Since nothing has been done about this, indicates that it is encouraged.

The law terminology in this blog was very informative as has made me more curious about some of the terms used, which led me in researching further beyond this blog. It was also a good length yet not too short, which made it an enjoyable read.

Finally there was a fair amount of back up in this blog which made it stand out to me as it came across as very legitimate.


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