Campsfield Demonstrators Call for Detainees to be Paid Minimum Wage

Press release – 28 January 2010

Tel. 01865 558145 / 01993 703994

Demonstrators at the monthly protest at Campsfield detention centre near Kidlington tomorrow (12-2pm main gates, Langford Lane) are calling for detainees who are paid for doing jobs such as serving meals and cleaning in the centre to be paid at least the minimum wage.

Earlier this month, the Guardian reported that women detained at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre are being paid 50p an hour for menial tasks, leading to accusations of exploitation. Detainees described the work as ‘modern-day slavery’ and accused the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Serco, the highly profitable outsourcing company that runs the Bedfordshire centre, of exploiting them.
At Campsfield, the private company that is grossly exploiting vulnerable detainees is GEO (Global Expertise in Outsourcing, a euphemism for the notorious American prison operator Wackenhut).
Bill MacKeith of the Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: ‘It is a cruel irony that immigration detainees are being paid a pittance while asylum seekers in the community are not allowed to work, even though this would save taxpayers’ money and enable them to contribute fully to society. What a reflection of the hypocrisy that guides government policy.’
NOTE: The issue of payment to detainees for work done has been a contentious one at Campsfield for years. See (below) the statement issued by Oxford & District Trades Union Council in 2008.
Contact: Bill MacKeith 01865 558145

O&DTUC Statement on Slave Labour at Campsfield
Oxford & District Trades Union Council deplores the fact that GEO (formerly Wackenhut), which runs Campsfield detention centre under contract from the Home Office, is paying immigration detainees £5 a day for doing jobs in the centre. It understands that these may be in the kitchen and cleaning. We believe that giving detainees ‘jobs’ for which they do not even receive the minimum wage and receive inadequate training and supervision is wrong. It is bad for the detainees, who are in a vulnerable position in detention and are being superexploited. It may be bad for the standards of care and cleanliness in the centre. We are concerned that staffing levels have been cut at the centre. We maintain our position that Campsfield is a shameful operation and should be closed. As long as it is open, jobs should be properly paid and be done by trained staff. For detainees there should be adequate recreational, educational and other provision, which we understand has been cut since GEO took over the centre. Detainees should receive an adequate financial allowance and not be obliged to act as slave labour for a multinational that makes big profits out of an operation that causes detainees enormous stress, uncertainty, general misery and often mental illness.

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