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Refugees face slave labour

Issue No. 1765

Refugees face slave labour

NEW LABOUR is giving a multinational company the chance to run a slave labour operation. UK Detention Services is a subsidiary of Sodexho, the multinational firm that operates the refugee voucher scheme.

It will be allowed to employ refugees as chefs and cleaners at the new Harmondsworth detention centre for just 34p an hour. That is 10 percent of the meagre national minimum wage. "This is nothing short of slave labour," said Sally Price from the group Refugee Action. The only people who stand to benefit from this are Sodexho."

The government has already paid Sodexho 2.6 million since the voucher scheme started in April last year. Sodexho's boss, Pierre Bellon, is one of Europe's richest men, with an estimated fortune of more than 1.3 billion.

He explained why his company moved into the private prisons business, saying, "I used to be in the hotel business, but with prisons you can guarantee a 100 percent occupancy rate."

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Sat 8 Sep 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1765
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