10 March 2017
Hannah Reed, Senior Employment Rights Officer at the TUC, has told the Select Committee for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that workers are being “sacked on the spot for being pregnant” in the modern workplace.
She spoke to the Committee has part of its inquiry into the Future World of Work, which is looking into employment law and exploitation in the modern economy.
The TUC recently reported that one in ten workers is now in vulnerable employment, including agency work, zero-hours contracts and bogus self employment.
Workers on such contracts have access to fewer workers’ rights already, but Reed explained that in such conditions, employers are disabusing them even of the rights they have.
The Independent reported her as saying that workers are being forced to carry their uniforms around with them all day just in case they receive a call saying they have a shift, and that women are being fired if they fall pregnant.
“That is clearly sex discrimination; clearly a breach of the law,” but many people on agency contracts are not aware of their rights,” she explained.
She also pointed out that it is by abusing their staff that employers are trying to get ahead, explaining: “Some rogue employers, through the use of pretty shocking working practices, are able to unfairly undercut the competition.”