The early days of Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister have been filled with hullaballoo over who got the top jobs in government.
But if he wants to make a difference in office, he should focus instead on another set of jobs – those that are classed as insecure work.
Fresh analysis published by the TUC today shows that at least 3.7 million workers in the UK are in insecure work – or around one in nine of the workforce.
These include agency, casual and seasonal workers, those whose main job is on a zero-hours contract and self-employed workers who are paid less than the National Living Wage.
Insecure work is widespread and not restricted to any particular corner of the country.
As the following chart shows, insecure workers make up at least 10 per cent of the workforce in every region of England and in Wales and Scotland:
Insecure work has a huge impact on those who endure it.
People in insecure work often don’t know what hours they will work (causing chaos with arrangements like childcare) or whether they will be able to pay their next bills.
Many also miss out on rights and protections that many of us take for granted. These include being able to return to the same job after having a baby and the right to sick pay when they cannot work.
This is blighting the lives of millions of workers.
People often associate insecure work with the growth of the ‘gig economy’ – app-based services like Uber and Deliveroo.
But insecurity is also widespread in jobs that have been around for years.
Our figures show that insecure work extends to:
This is nothing to do with billionaire tech boffins in Silicon Valley. It is down to the reluctance of ministers to take action to stop workers from being exploited.
Decent work has been the forgotten issue of the past few years with the government’s attention focused elsewhere.
Only half-hearted efforts were made to secure workers’ rights in the Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union.
And disappointingly, the government’s flagship workers’ rights initiative, the Good Work Plan, was inadequate on paper and its implementation has been glacial.
The new Prime Minister needs to get a grip of this situation.
We need a new deal for working people so that every worker gets respect, and every job is a good job.
That’s why the TUC is calling for:
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