Recently, Manchester Airports Group (MAG) became the first UK operator to join the Slave-Free Alliance. Launched by the anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice, the Slave-Free Alliance is a membership initiative for businesses. Its goal is simple: to help them expunge modern slavery from their supply chains. GlobalData’s Airport Technology asks Tricia Williams, chief customer officer at MAG, why this is such an important issue for the aviation sector.
Why to tackle modern slavery is such an important issue for the aviation sector?
GlobalData’s Airport Technology says: “As the owner of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, MAG sees 60 million people passing through its airports each year and employs over 40,000 people on site. Through working with the Slave-Free Alliance, the group will shine a brighter light on its own supply chain, cracking down on practices such as exploitation, trafficking or forced labour.”
Tricia Williams tells GlobalData’s Airport Technology: “Because we’re a large company, we’re required by the Modern Slavery Act to publish a Modern Slavery Statement every year. This outlines all of the actions we’ve taken to protect our supply chain and wider operations from the risk of modern slavery. The Slave-Free Alliance offered us the expertise we needed to take an in-depth look at our operations and supply chain, and to see where we could go the extra mile to safeguard those involved in our wider operations.
“One of the actions from our latest Modern Slavery Statement was to introduce a compulsory e-learning module for all MAG colleagues. This module explains how colleagues across our business could help to identify individuals or groups of people who might be victims of modern slavery. We see this as a proactive step forward so that all of our employees feel educated and empowered to take appropriate action if they think it necessary.”
GlobalData’s Airport Technology asks: “What are some of the key areas of concern?”
Williams concludes: “At MAG, all three of our airports, as well all other airports in the UK, work alongside hundreds of partners who deliver vital services such as cleaning, hospitality and retail. Our goal has always been to ensure anyone working at, or in association with our airports is being treated legally and fairly by their employer, and that they feel safe coming to work, with the ability to speak freely without fear of the consequences. There is no reason for modern slavery to exist in our society, and we are working hard to ensure it doesn’t happen in connection with our business.”