Everyone should expect to be treated fairly at work. Whether it’s time off to look after your family, freedom from discrimination, or fair wages, there are rules in place to protect us all. But employers don’t always play by the book. Left unchecked, bosses are free to cut corners and exploit their staff.

Responsibility for protecting workers and stopping illegal activity such as forced labour, discrimination at work, trafficking or breaches of the national minimum wage falls to a few agencies. These include the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, the Equality and Human Rights Commission. HMRC is responsible for the collection of taxes, as well as overseeing other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage.

Each of these agencies has been subject to huge funding cuts over the last nine years. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, for example, has seen its budget decline by 67%, and staff numbers decline by 63%. Now, in the UK, there is just one labour market inspector per 20,000 workers. Almost every metric of enforcement activity – from job agency inspections to gangmaster convictions – has fallen. Employers can expect a visit from HMRC’s national minimum wage inspectors once every 500 years.

Responsibility for protecting workers and stopping illegal activity such as forced labour, discrimination at work, trafficking or breaches of the national minimum wage falls to a few agencies. These include the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, the Equality and Human Rights Commission. HMRC is responsible for the collection of taxes, as well as overseeing other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage.

Each of these agencies has been subject to huge funding cuts over the last nine years. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, for example, has seen its budget decline by 67%, and staff numbers decline by 63%. Now, in the UK, there is just one labour market inspector per 20,000 workers. Almost every metric of enforcement activity – from job agency inspections to gangmaster convictions – has fallen. Employers can expect a visit from HMRC’s national minimum wage inspectors once every 500 years.

RODNEY’S STORY

Maidenhead

JAMES’ STORY

London

SPORTS DIRECT WORKERS’ STORIES

Shirebrook

ANNA’S STORY

Poland

BECKY’S STORY

JAN’S STORY

Czech Republic

DORINA’S STORY

Romania

FRANK’S STORY

Barbados

NICHOLAI’S STORY

Ukraine