Issue date
05 Feb 2018
The TUC is today (Monday) calling on the government to act on insecure work, as part of its response to the Taylor Review on Modern Employment Practices, which is expected this week.

The TUC is today (Monday) calling on the government to act on insecure work, as part of its response to the Taylor Review on Modern Employment Practices, which is expected this week.

The TUC estimates that at least 1.8 million insecure workers are at risk of missing out on key rights, including redundancy pay, protection against unfair dismissal, and the right to return to your job after having a baby.

And many more are missing out on rights because their bosses have wrongly classified them as self-employed.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The insecure work free-for-all has to end.

“Agency workers are being treated like second-class citizens, getting less pay for the same work. And zero-hours contracts leave many workers unable to plan childcare or budget for their weekly shop.

“This will be a real test of Theresa May’s government. Does she even have a domestic agenda anymore? Or has her government been totally hijacked by Brexit in-fighting.”

The TUC is calling on the government to:

  • Ban zero-hours contracts to ensure workers get guaranteed hours, allowing them to pay bills and plan childcare.
  • Ensure equal pay for agency workers, by ending the Swedish Derogation which acts as an undercutters charter.
  • Crack down on bogus self-employment and ensure workers enjoy the same floor of rights as employees, including redundancy pay and family-friendly rights.
  • Allow trades unions to access workplaces, to support workers most in need of representation.
  • Increase resources and powers for enforcement, so that dodgy employers have nowhere to hide.
Editors note

- The Taylor Review is a government-commissioned, independent review by RSA chair Matthew Taylor. It looked at “modern working practices” and was published on 11 July 2017.

- The Review, among other things, backed union calls to end the Swedish Derogation (which allows employers to pay agency than other workers for the same job) and highlighted the “many positive examples of the role trade unions can play in good employment relations.”

People in insecure work at risk of missing out on key rights

Agency workers

611,791

Zero hours contracts

786,008

Casual, season or other reason

454,248

Total

1,852,047

Source: Quarterly Labour Force Survey, April – June 2017.

- To estimate the number of employed people facing insecurity at work the TUC used ONS Labour Force Survey data on:

(a) The number of people engaged in temporary work that is seasonal, casual, or through an agency (that is, we have not included temporary workers on fixed term contracts). The TUC also included a group of permanent agency workers identified in 2016: http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2016/12/Secret-Agents.pdf

(b) The number of people on zero-hours contracts, excluding those who are self-employed, and those who would be included in the category above.