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UK government plans new workers' watchdog

The UK government has announced plans to launch a new watchdog tasked with protecting the rights of UK workers. The new body will be responsible for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers. These tasks are currently spread across three separate bodies: the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC's National Minimum Wage Enforcement.

The announcement comes after widespread labour abuses in garment factories in Leicester were uncovered in 2020. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has previously noted the shortcomings of the UK's approach to tackling modern slavery.

The Trades Union Congress has responded to the government's plans with concern, noting that there is "no timetable for the necessary legislation, no promise of badly needed extra funds and overall the plans fall short of the systemic reforms that are needed to make sure workers can enforce their rights, swiftly and effectively."