Forced labour

BRANDS and employers need to take a proactive approach to fair hiring in the hospitality industry to fight against forced labour, Scott Stiles, co-founder and CEO of the Fair Employment Foundation, told attendees at a workshop at the G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Confer-ence in Hong Kong in April.

He said the current recruitment and employment market was “broken” and that workers were subjected to a raft of abuses as a result.

Stiles said employers tended to work with the cheapest recruitment agencies they could find which, in turn, drove prices down from sending side agencies when hiring migrant workers. That pressure meant sending agencies charged workers rather than the receiving side.

“It is often framed that the sending-side agency is at fault, but the reality is that if the receiving-side agency is not paying a fee that can cover the cost it is very much creating a system of forced labour.”

Brands and employers would benefit from the Fair Employment Model. “What will happen is that they may pay a little bit more upfront, but they are going to have better retention, better results from their employees,” he said.

“You have to start at the top,” Stiles told MIX after the workshop. “You don’t create big systematic change from lower levels, you have to go to the top and get real support on it, so it is something that the highest levels of management are engaged for.”

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