Govt ditches workers’ rights Bill and prioritises crackdown on public dissent

The Employment Bill has been delayed but the Policing Bill will go ahead.

17 May 2021| News

In the Queen’s Speech last week, the government failed to bring forth the Employment Bill it has been promising for two years, and was vague about its commitment to social care reform, despite vowing to make it a priority.

Instead, Johnson’s administration focused on oppressing dissenting voices among the public with measures such as the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – already the subject of wide-ranging opposition with protests springing up across the country.

If passed in its current form, the Bill would severely restrict lawful protest by imposing heavy sentences for minor infractions such as making too much noise.

Also featured in the Queen’s Speech was a promise to make it harder for the public to hold the government to account when they suspect it of breaking the law. Citizens can currently take Ministers to task through the process of Judicial Review, but a new Bill will dilute their right to do so.

The government promised an Employment Bill in 2019, which it said would improve the conditions of work for British residents post-Brexit.

“Warm words on workers’ rights are betrayed by this government’s abject lack of leadership,” Acting General Secretary of GMB, Warren Kenny, said.

“This is an historic missed opportunity at a time when unscrupulous employers are exploiting the pandemic to attack good quality jobs.”

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said “This pandemic has brutally exposed the terrible working conditions and insecurity many of our key workers in retail, care, and delivery face … We need action now to deal with the scourge of insecure work – not more dithering and delay.”