TP uses prison labour
Published: 10 September, 2009
LONDON: Travis Perkins is one of several major companies using prisoners as cheap labour through secretive government contracts.
The Guardian newspaper identified the companies using Freedom of Information requests.
At Stocken, Rutland, prisoners repair equipment for Travis Perkins hire division. The newspaper quoted a company spokesman who said the contract "is not being done as an economic contribution to Travis Perkins's bottom line" and that the company sees it "as a contribution to the community". The Stocken workshop has trained over 100 prisoners, and that one has been employed with the company since release, according to the company spokesman.
The newspaper said: "Prisoners in UK jails are working for some of Britain's best-known brands for as little as £4 a week - with household names such as Virgin Atlantic, Monarch Airlines and Travis Perkins benefiting from work carried out by people not covered by the minimum wage. And it is not just the private sector that benefits; the NHS and Ministry of Defence also use goods produced by prisoners."
More than 100 smaller companies are using prison labour in England and Wales to produce everything from holiday brochures, novelty name tags and balloons to industrial mouldings and security chains. Most customers will be unaware that prisoners are producing goods, the newspaper said.