Govt ‘not interested in better workers’ rights’, says insider

The Employment Bill has been delayed until late 2021 or 2022, insiders say.

19 Feb 2021| News

The government has no enthusiasm for improving workers’ rights, the outgoing Director of Labour Market Enforcement, Matthew Taylor, has said.

Taylor published a review of workers’ rights in 2017 after being hired by then-Prime Minister Theresa May to consider how they could be improved.

Although May initially gave the go-ahead for many of his recommendations for reform, they have never been introduced and Taylor claims the new administration under Boris Johnson is not focused on improving workers’ lot.

His proposals, which were widely criticised across the labour movement as too weak to provide any substantial help to the insecure workforce, were expected to appear in a long-promised Employment Bill but that legislation has failed to appear and sources told the Guardian it is unlikely to be brought until late 2021 or even 2022.

“There is still no clarity on what the government intends to do. We have seen a gradual but unmistakable deceleration of the government reform agenda in relation to good work. There was an initial enthusiasm but that has waned, and waned, and waned,” Taylor told the newspaper.

Indeed, the leadership has not even responded to consultations on the proposed reforms, and the role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement has laid empty since Taylor left it. He claims the government turned down his offer to stay in position until a suitable replacement was found.

While Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, claims to have experienced a Damascus moment on workers’ rights and is now intent on preserving them despite years of strong opposition, Taylor said the Conservative Party is struggling to take on a new pro-worker ideology as “they have deregulatory instincts” and want to keep certain elements within the business community on side.