Cardinal Vincent Nichols has likened some of the work conditions in Britain today to those of the days of slavery.
Delivering his homily at St Mary and St Michael’s Church in the east end of London to mark the 125th anniversary celebration of the London Docks strike Cardinal Nichols said: “We know that working conditions exist today, in this city, which are not far from effective slavery, as well as the presence of extensive de facto slavery too.
“It is right to struggle against these outrageous conditions, just as it is right to seek to work with those who share a desire to develop a healthy ecology of enterprise in our society today.“
The Cardinal referred to the development of Catholic Social Teaching since the statements of Cardinal Manning at the time of the Great Dock Strike in 1889, which he played a pivotal role in resolving. “Catholic Social Teaching continues to develop these fundamental principles of the priority of human dignity and the importance of the common good, across wide spectrum of concerns,” said Cardinal Nichols. “In 2012, for example, in the midst of the world-wide economic crisis, the Catholic Church published a document entitled 'The Vocation of the Business Leader' based on precisely these principles. Today there is increasing interest in Catholic Social Teaching providing a framework for building a good and prosperous society. I constantly meet business leaders who recognise the vital importance of the partnerships called for in that Teaching and the importance of the well-being of employees as a key factor for good in a sound and lasting business.”
There was notably no mention of the role of trade unions today.
*"Archbishop lays into modern slavery" - Morning Star - 16/9/2014
*"Cardinal Nichols: some work in London today is akin to slavery - 19/9/2014