Since 1997 the Government has introduced a whole range of new employment rights which have had practical, positive benefits for millions of workers. The National Minimum
Wage, statutory union recognition, the right to four weeks paid leave, new family friendly measures and new rights to information and consultation – all these and more have made a real difference to people's everyday working lives.
We have welcomed these new rights – but know that despite this progress much remains to be done. For too many workers the new rights either don't provide effective protection, or are simply ignored by employers. Agency workers are denied sickness benefits or holiday entitlements because they are not classed as ‘employees’; migrant workers have legal and illegal deductions taken from their wages which leave them being paid way below the minimum wage; casual workers are afraid to voice their concerns on the job because of fear of being sacked; and homeworkers are denied basic work rights because of their employment status.
This doesn’t mean everyone at work in Britain today is getting a raw deal – but it does mean that a significant minority have insecure, unfulfilling jobs in which they face low pay, poverty and exploitation. As this report notes, some 5.3million workers in Britain today – one in five – could be classed as ‘vulnerable’. These are the workers that both unions and government have to do more to support.
It’s time to bring the problems faced by Britain’s ‘one in five’ vulnerable workers out into the open, and most importantly, begin to tackle them.
TUC presents vulnerable worker report to PM
The TUC Commission on Vulnerable Employment this afternoon met the Prime Minister to present the Commission's final report to the Government.
The Commission, which was chaired by TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, included leading employers and civil society representatives alongside senior trade unionists.
The report, which was produced on 7 May, highlighted the gross exploitation and abuse found among an estimated 2 million workers in the UK today.
“A bad day for rights at work”
Commenting on the outcome of today's meeting of Europe's Social Affairs Council, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
Migrant Agency Workers in the UK
This report presents evidence of widespread mistreatment of migrant agency workers and demonstrates the importance of an EU Temporary Agency Worker Directive to promote equal treatment for all agency workers.
TUC urges Government to agree new deal for agency workers
As the TUC publishes new evidence of the abuse of migrant workers by employment agencies, the TUC is today (Monday) calling on Gordon Brown to break a longstanding European deadlock and agree a new deal for agency workers at a crucial EU meeting on Wednesday.
Banner Theatre Autum Tour
Details of a new multimedia documentary theatre production that busts the media-generated myths about refugees and asylum seekers.
TUC study reveals systematic exploitation of migrant workers
Thousands of Polish and Lithuanian workers are being exploited at work in the UK, reveals a new report commissioned by the TUC and published today (Tuesday).