Ministers have presided over a “litany of failures” on workers’ rights, say TUC

Five years on from the Taylor Review, the Government is going “backwards” on workers’ rights, TUC warns.

12 Jul 2022| News

The TUC has slammed Conservative Ministers for presiding over “a litany of failures on workers’ rights”, five years after the Taylor Review into modern working practices, which promised “good work for all”.

The union body says the UK has “gone backwards” on rights in the workplace since the review, which was heralded at the time by the government as the “largest upgrade of workers’ rights in a generation”.

The criticism comes as the TUC publishes its new research on insecure work, which reveals how precarious and low-paid work has become widespread across all parts of the UK.

The new research finds that 3.7 million workers are in insecure work – or one in nine of the total workforce.

Nation of insecure work

The TUC says the UK has become a “nation of insecure work” with low-paid and precarious work prevalent across the country.

The union body adds that ending the scourge of insecure work is vital to tackling structural racism in our labour market.

The new analysis shows black workers are much more likely to be in insecure work than white workers (14.6% compared to 11.1%)

Recent TUC research showed BME women are twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men.

Government action needed

The TUC warns that unless the government takes action precarious work and low pay could become even more widespread, with the UK going “backwards” on workers’ rights.

And it says that plans to attack trade union rights by allowing agency workers to replace striking staff are an attack on workers’ ability to push back against attempts to make their jobs more insecure.

The government committed to delivering an employment bill to boost workers’ rights.

But ministers have failed to bring forward the legislation well over two years after it was first promised, and have spent recent months attacking workers’ bargaining power and trade union rights.

The TUC also warns that the UK is already falling behind its EU counterparts on labour rights – pointing to new EU commission proposals to clamp down on exploitative practices in platform work.

To end the scourge of insecure work in the UK, the union body is calling on the government to:

  • Ban zero-hours contracts
  • Give workers a right to ‘day one’ flexible working
  • Strengthening collective bargaining by introducing fair pay agreements across industrial sectors
  • Allow unions access to workplaces to discuss the benefits of joining a union, mirroring practice in New Zealand

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This Conservative government promised to make Britain the best place in the world to work.

But ministers have torched that promise – first by failing to bring forward an employment bill and now by brazenly attacking workers’ bargaining power and union rights.

The UK is a nation of insecure work. In every corner of Britain, working people are in precarious, low-paid jobs.

After the P&O scandal, dragging our outdated labour laws into the 21st century has never been more urgent.

People can’t wait for greater rights and security at work – they need it now.

But this government is intent on dragging us backwards on rights in the workplace.

Enough is enough. It’s time to tackle our insecure work epidemic by banning zero hours contracts, giving workers the day one right to flexible working and strengthening collective bargaining so that workers have more power to improve their pay and conditions.”