Co-op jobs pledge for slavery victims

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
3 March 2017

The member-owned mutual will support victims of slavery back into employment 

The Co-op has launched a ground-breaking scheme, offering victims of modern slavery a work placement with its food business and, if suitable, a job.

The mutual has teamed up with City Hearts charity to support 30 modern slavery victims through the Bright Future Programme. Survivors will get a four-week placement followed by a non-competitive interview. If this is successful and a position is vacant the candidate will be offered a job.

The first beneficiary of the scheme is working in a Co-op store in the North West.

Anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Hyland said: “This unique initiative marks the first time victims have been directly offered work placements and employment opportunities. In doing so, the Co-op has empowered victims of modern slavery and human trafficking to live a bright future.”

Eliminate supply chain slavery

Several suppliers, including pork producer Tulip, convenience food producer Greencore and 2Sisters, with a product range from poultry to frozen pizza, have signed up to support the scheme and provide employment opportunities to victims of modern slavery.

“The private sector has a vital role to play in eradicating this barbaric crime,” said Sarah Newton, minister for vulnerability, safeguarding and countering extremism. “I hope that this positive project will inspire other businesses to take action in the future.”

Steve Murrells, the Co-op’s new CEO said: “Having heard our new colleague’s harrowing story I am proud that our Co-op has teamed up with City Hearts to offer real practical help to survivors of this evil crime. Victims need to be supported while they rebuild their lives and central to that is the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides.

“Modern slavery will only be stopped by government, businesses and society working together to ensure supply chains are transparent, so giving this shocking crime no shadow to hide in,” he said.

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