The TUC has today (insert day) published the 20 times ministers promised to deliver the employment bill to enhance workers’ rights, which has now – according to reports – been dropped from May’s Queen’s Speech.
The government first announced it would bring forward the employment bill in December 2019 to “protect and enhance workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU, making Britain the best place in the world to work.”
Since then, ministers have made repeated commitments to delivering the legislation.
The TUC says failure to deliver the employment bill would confirm that the government “doesn’t care about improving workers’ rights”.
The P&O scandal, which saw 800 seafarers sacked without notice, makes the case for new legislation to protect workers all the more urgent, the union body adds.
If the government fails to deliver the bill, the government will be giving rogue employers the green light to treat staff appallingly, the TUC warns.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
"Time and time again, ministers have been promising us an employment bill to make Britain the best place to work in the world.
“After so many promises, failing to bring forward the employment bill at the Queen’s Speech would be nothing short of scandalous.
“It would confirm that this government doesn’t care about workers’ rights.
“P&O made the case for strengthening employment rights all the more urgent.
“If the government doesn’t bring forward legislation to boost workers’ rights, it will be giving rogue employers the green light to treat staff appallingly.
“It’s time for ministers to finally deliver on their word and bring forward the employment bill to end exploitative practices like zero-hour contracts and fire and rehire.”
Ministers promised an employment bill on at least twenty occasions, including:
Tuesday 3 March 2020: Business minister Paul Scully referred to the “upcoming employment Bill” in the Terms and Conditions of Employment 2020 debate.
Wednesday 11 March 2020: Business minister Paul Scully committed to bringing forward new measures to make flexible working the default in “our employment Bill” in the Flexible working 2020 debate.
Tuesday 17 March 2020: Business minister Paul Scully promised to “bring forward an employment Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in more than 20 years” in the Draft National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2020 debate.
Tuesday 17 March 2020: Business minister Paul Scully said, “on the protection of the low-paid self-employed, we will introduce the Employment Bill" in the Draft National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2021 debate.
Wednesday 17 June 2020: Business minister Paul Scully said “the manifesto we stood on talked about an employment Bill, which we will bring forward when possible, to make flexible working the default” in the Covid-19: Economic Opportunity 2020 debate.
Tuesday 17 November 2020: Business minister Paul Scully said “as soon as parliamentary time allows, we will introduce an employment Bill to reflect everything that we have learnt, and we will deliver the Government’s manifesto commitments” in the Covid-19: Employment Rights 2020 debate.
Tuesday 26 January 2021: Business minister Paul Scully said the next change on the horizon is the Employment Bill “which aims to make flexible working the default for more workers and other strengthening measures” in January 2021 on Twitter.
Wednesday 18 November 2020: Business minister Paul Scully said “one of the cornerstones of the employment Bill will be to ensure flexible working by default” in the Worker Exploitation: Leicester Textile Industry 2020 debate.
Monday 30 November 2020: Business minister Paul Scully reaffirmed the commitment to the employment Bill, while reflecting on the effect of Covid and talking about bereavement leave in the Statutory Paid Bereavement Leave: Loss of Family Member debate.
Tuesday 9 March 2021: Business minister Paul Scully said he would “look forward to the Employment Bill coming forward so that we can look further at a number of issues around the gig economy” in the Covid-19: Workplace Protection 2021 debate.
Tuesday 23 March 2021: Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng made clear assurances to bring the Employment Bill to parliament when time allows in the Queen’s Speech: Employment Legislation 2021 debate.
Wednesday 28 April 2021: Business minister Paul Scully said he looked forward to working through the employment Bill when parliamentary time allows in the Draft Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021 2021 debate.
Wednesday 28 April 2021: Business minister Paul Scully reaffirmed the government’s commitment to delivering the employment Bill and the single enforcement body within the legislation in the National Minimum Wage Enforcement 2021 debate.
Wednesday 28 April 2021: Business minister Paul Scully said that “as we get through to the Employment Bill we will be in a better place to ensure that we can tackle some of those issues including the right to request flexible working that we have heard about in the Redundancy Protection: Women and New Parents 2021 debate.
Tuesday 25 May 2021: Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng said the government is committed to introducing the employment bill “when we can, and that has always been our position” in the Topical Questions May 2021 parliamentary session.
Tuesday 25 May 2021: business minister Paul Scully spoke of his and the Secretary of State’s “absolute commitment” to an employment bill in the Gig Economy: Employment Rights 2021 parliamentary session.
Tuesday 8 June 2021: Business minister Paul Scully promised to bring forward the employment bill to extend redundancy protections to six months for mothers returning to work and ensure that pregnant women also benefit from these additional protections in the Employment Rights 2021 debate.
Tuesday 25 January 2022: Business minister Paul Scully said the employment bill will be announced when it comes forward in parliamentary time, in the Queen’s Speech, in the Draft Trade Union (Levy Payable to the Certification Officer) Regulations 2022 debate.
Wednesday 9 February 2022: Business minister Paul Scully said bringing forward the employment bill “matters on a human scale to people on a day-to-day basis” in the Neonatal Leave and Pay 2022 debate.
Tuesday 22 March 2022: Business minister Paul Scully promised to bring forward employment measures to “make it easier for people to enter and remain in work” – adding that Justin Madders MP [who had asked a question] “can tick away on his employment Bill bingo when we do so” in the Parental Leave and Pay 2022 debate.
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